Finals week is right around the corner, and sooner or later, you'll have to cram. Maybe you even decide to pull an all-nighter. While you find yourself dozing off for a minute or two, your first instinct is to reach for something that gives the extra kick you need: an energy drink. But public health expert David Dausey, Ph.D., of Mercyhurst University has some information that might make you reconsider.
If someone were to tell you that energy drinks are similar to unfiltered cigarettes, would you still drink them? According to Dausey, consuming an excess of these sugary drinks combined with lack of sleep, stress, and alcohol is a dangerous combination. Of course, most people can have the occasional energy drink and be fine. However, too much sugar and caffeine can take a toll, and energy drinks are one cause of this overload. Some of these drinks contain other additives too, and when combined with alcohol or other medications, the side effects are unclear. The drinks are even riskier for anyone with heart problems, and some students may have cardiac issues or a family history that they are unaware of. And in the past four years, there have been claims that overconsumption of some of these drinks may have been the cause of hospitalizations, and even some deaths.
The FDA is working on diving deeper into these health risks, but since energy drinks are regulated as dietary supplements—not food—the standards are much different than they would be for a typical soda. So, if you find your fridge is stocked with energy drinks, you may want to reconsider what you are using to fuel your body through those sleepless nights.