Are Energy Drinks Effective?

Are Energy Drinks Effective?

Jenna Boden

School is hard. Homework, studying for tests, getting up early and going to bed late; it’s tough to find the energy to complete all of the tasks that we have in the week. That’s why a lot of students turn to energy drinks to get the boost they need to stay alert and focused during the day. However, most students don’t know what energy drinks contain, and what they do to your body.

Although energy drinks “may enhance alertness and improve reaction time,” the long term effect is more serious. Kelly Loney, senior at Mountain Ridge, states that energy drinks help her to stay up, but the after effect brings her down a lot.

“They help me stay up or for doing homework if I procrastinated something or if I’m just tired, but after about 3 hours I’m really tired and there’s a slow crash.”

Energy drinks also have been proven to “cause serious heart and blood vessel problems such as heart rhythm disturbances and increases in heart rate and blood pressure” because of the large amounts of caffeine. A study done by the National Institute of Health shows that in 2011, the amount of trips to the emergency room doubled and in some cases resulted in hospitalization due to the consumption of energy drinks.

When asked if she knows how energy drinks affect her, Kelly responded that she knows “it’s bad for your heart, the chemicals are not nutritious, and I’m probably harming my body.”

So why, when students like Kelly understand and are aware of the harmful nature of energy drinks, do they continue to drink them? The answer can be found in Kelly’s response. She expressed that she drinks caffeinated drinks only when she needs energy for the school day, or for homework – not for anything else.

“I just prioritize getting work done over sleep,” Kelly said.

Increasing pressures from school and too little time in the day is what convinces Kelly to drink these harmful drinks, even though she knows what they do to her. At the time of the interview, Kelly gave no indication she plans on stopping consuming energy drinks despite knowing the health risks.