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While paying for my bread and milk at the IGA checkout the other morning, I was joking with the smiling girl about the two kids who had preceded me.

They had each purchased two large cans of a popular energy drink,and had commenced consumption. I commented that I felt sorry for the poor teacher at the high school across the road, who had to contend with them arriving on a high.

This got me thinking about the popularity of these drinks with teenagers and young adults. We talk about it, and she says they sell crate loads before School to teenagers aged between 13 and 18.

These beverages can be sold to anyone, and there is no restriction on the quantity purchased or consumed. Are they genuinely good for you, or can they be harmful?

Lets look at the difference between energy drinks and sports drinks.

SPORTS DRINKS are beverages that restore fluid balance and are designed to prevent dehydration after extreme exercise.They can be high in acid and cause teeth corrosion.

ENERGY DRINKS are high in caffeine and are not recommended to reduce dehydration, they can have harmful side effects.They can actually cause dehydration.

Drinking plenty water is equally as good after extreme exercise, and probably actually better for you.

Potential health risks:

  • The average can of energy drink contains more caffeine than four cans of Coke or two cups of coffee.
  • Energy drinks are loaded with sugar, and often contain relatively unknown herbal stimulants. They often come in larger cans than soft drinks and tend to be consumed quickly.
  • Potential side effects are: heart palpitations, increased blood pressure, sleeplessness, irritability.
  • A study conducted by the University of Texas and Queensland University, noted four instances of caffeine – associated death in otherwise fit, healthy young people after consuming these beverages.
  • There is a particular danger in the current trend of using energy drinks as a mixer with alcohol.
  • The caffeine, and other supplements can mask the perception of intoxication.
  • This can increase the risk of unwitting drunken driving and other antisocial behavior.
  • Once again society and our youth are victims of clever marketing.