Energy drinks present health risks for students

Many students struggle with juggling school and work loads. While some students cope with their lifestyle through old-fashioned all-nighters, others turn to the latest energy-supplying product, energy drinks.

Although energy drinks provide fuel, the reliance on these drinks may have its share of side effects.

ACNeilsen, an international marketing research company that monitors consumer sales, produced data that determined Red Bull and V account for 94 percent of total energy sales in convenience stores.

According to, between 2000 and 2005, “the $1.1 billion energy drink market has experienced phenomenal growth of over 700 percent” and teens and young adults are the target market for energy drink manufacturers.

“The caffeine actually blocks the symptoms of fatigue,” said Dr. Emily Haymes, professor of the department of nutrition, food and exercise sciences at Florida State University. She said energy drinks are just a new variation of what many Americans have done for years.

“There is not a true difference between drinking coffee, which people have been doing for years for energy,” Haymes said.

“Energy drinks serve that same purpose as coffee…it’s nothing new.”

However, consumption can have negative effects.

“The primary ingredient in energy drinks that can cause an energy drink overdose is caffeine,” according to http://www. “Most energy drinks are significantly more powerful and include higher levels of caffeine than coffee, so fewer energy drinks would be necessary to cause an overdose,” the site states.

Energy drinks contain more sugar than the average soft drink and contain as much as three times the caffeine found in coffee.

The site also states that the excessive use of caffeine in energy drinks can result in osteoporosis, ulcers, heart disease or infertility.

Regardless, of the health implications, some students continue to use energy drinks.

“I drink it (energy drinks) when I am feeling tired, and I don’t have time to take a nap,” Matthew Beatty, 23, said.

Beatty, a graduate business administration student from Miami said Red Bull offers the energy that he needs to keep him going better than others. “The first time I had tried was when I was driving home,” he said. “I’ve tried Monster and Vault those and other ones don’t work for me.” Haymes said that when youth turn to the use of energy drinks to stay awake, it is just an alternative to the use of “no doze.”

“If they (students) have to stay up to get their work done, then it may mean they are not planning, but that’s what they have to resort to,” Haymes said. “They (energy drinks) are the same thing but just packaged differently.”