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Knowing More About Energy Drinks

July 1, 2014, 6:15 PM by Brittany Larson

Knowing More About Energy Drinks

No doubt you've seen them on store shelves with names such as Red Bull, Rockstar and Monster. When your energy level is low, it can be tempting to reach for the jolt these drinks promise. That's okay, only it's important to be smart about how much you sip.

"I just don't think you need that much of a caffeine jolt at one time," Andrea McIntyre said.

That caffeine jolt can be as high as 200 milligrams per drink. Health experts say you should only take in about 300 milligrams per day.

"One energy drink may not have too much caffeine but the people who tend to drink them, tend to drink more than one. So then if it's drinking more than one it can become problematic," Mary Aukes, RD, Avera Heart Hospital dietitian.

At just 45 milligrams per day the daily caffeine cap is even lower for kids, many of whom think nothing of downing two or three a day.

"They are not getting their nutrition and they are filling up on that and it's going to cause adverse effects in their growth," Aukes said.

That's only the beginning of where the potential danger lies.

"People need to be aware of that because you see a lot of kids running around with these monster drinks. And how detrimental they can be to their health, let alone all these added sugars," Aukes said.

In fact, some energy drinks have twice the sugar of a regular soda. That could spell trouble for your heart.

"The sugar is what we are concern with because the sugar can lead to that heart disease and then when people develop heart disease then they have to turn around and watch their caffeine intake," Aukes said.

The FDA warns consumers to watch out for misleading labels such as "energizes and hydrates," "50 percent more focus," and "stimulates metabolism," Brittany Larson said.

What the makers of energy drinks don't mention is the inevitable sugar crash that comes later.

"It's just going to have you go on a downer right after you drink it so, I just think it's pointless,"  McIntyre said.

While you might be tempted to reach for a can during a strenuous workout or ball game, you should know that all that caffeine can actually work as a diuretic, making you more prone to dehydration.

"It dehydrates them so then it makes them more thirsty so the other things we would just recommend is to make sure you get plenty of water," Aukes said.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Information corrected to reflect that registered ietitian Mary Aukes with the Avera Heart Hospital was misidentified.

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