Do you grab a Red Bull, 5 Hour Energy, Rockstar or Monster drink every afternoon to fight that two-o’clock afternoon slowdown? You’re not alone. Many of us rely on an energy drink (or three) to keep us up and at ’em when jobs get tough and hours get long. But is all that energy taking a toll on your heart?
A newly-released study says that energy drinks liked Red Bull might be dangerous to your health. While it’s not a surprise that energy drinks aren’t good for you in large quantities, this study suggests that no matter what, these drinks could be damaging your heart by stressing it out too much.
Energy Drinks Cause Heart Strain
The new study was undertaken to find out exactly how energy drinks like Red Bull are affecting your heart when you drink them.
The active ingredients in most of these drinks are taurine, caffeine, and a whole lot of sugar. This study was aimed at finding out how the caffeine and taurine included in energy drinks were specifically affecting the heartbeats of individuals that had recently consumed energy drinks.
The LA Times gives us some backstory:
“[A] team of cardiac radiologists…wanted to figure out why energy drinks like Red Bull, Monster, 5-Hour Energy and Rockstar are sending tens of thousands of people to the emergency rooms each year, including nearly 21,000 in the US alone, according to a 2013 report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.”
If the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has been looking into a particular food or drink product, we think that product might be one worth viewing with a bit of healthy suspicion.
How Energy Drinks May Hurt Your Heart
An energy drink usually has about three times the amount of caffeine compared to a normal serving of coffee or soda. Obviously, too much caffeine can result in negative side effects, but with energy drinks like Monster or Rockstar, many consumers are drinking far more than they normally would.
This recent study wanted to find out exactly how all that extra caffeine would affect people’s hearts.
Volunteers that took place in the study were hooked up to an MRI machine and had their hearts examined both before and after drinking energy drinks. Unsurprisingly enough, measurements were significantly higher after the drinks had been consumed.
While the study found that drinking all the caffeine and taurine in an energy drink definitely increases the strain on the human heart, it also found that things like blood pressure and heart rate didn’t actually change.
Health Study May Be Inconclusive
Despite the findings, this study still doesn’t bring us any closer to a scientifically definitive answer as to whether or not energy drinks are automatically “bad for you.”
Common sense, of course, suggests that anything that increases your heart rate so quickly is not good for you. Monster, on the other hand, makes the point that most energy drinks only have about half the caffeine as a similar-sized serving of coffee.
They call the study “alarmist and misleading,” but just about everybody knows that your body really doesn’t need the incredibly high levels of caffeine and sugar that are loaded into energy drinks.
In fact, there are a few ways to get an energy boost without putting so much junk into your system. Get more sleep, exercise and eat healthy, well-balanced meals the next time you need to fight that mid-afternoon slump.
Do you have any good suggestions for putting a little more spring in your step the natural and healthy way? Let us know in the comments!