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Friday, May 12, 2017

Scary Side Effects of Energy Drinks

Warning: You might want to put down that Red Bull! A new small study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found that commercial energy drinks can cause some serious harm to your heart, and in ways caffeinated drinks like coffee or soda alone would not.

Researchers split study participants into two groups: this first half was given 32 ounces of a commercial energy drink (equivalent to four cups of coffee) and the second group received a soda-like drink with the same amount of caffeine.

Over the next 24 hours, researchers measured the blood pressure and heart activity of the study participants. After six days, the participants switched drinks. Some key findings:
  • Both drinks caused elevated blood pressure. For those who drank the energy drink, however, the levels stayed elevated for a much longer period of time. This could spell trouble for people with heart conditions, noted the researchers.
  • Energy drinks altered how the heart beats and affected a measure called the QT interval. This phenomenon is linked with "increased risk for fatal arrhythmias," said study authors.
"What the growing body of evidence is pointing to is that there are effects on the heart that are different than caffeine alone," says study author Emily Fletcher of the David Grant U.S.A.F. Medical Center in California, in a recent statement. "Consumers should be aware that drinking an energy drink is not the same as drinking coffee or soda."

And let’s not forget the sugar: One can may contain up to 50 grams of sugar, which exceeds the maximum amount of sugar recommended to consume in one day. What’s more, because energy drinks contain high amounts of caffeine, which is a diuretic, people risk dehydrating more quickly in the summer heat.

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