Energy drink overconsumption poses a threat to teen health

CELSIUS FAN: Chloe Owens carrying her favorite energy drinks. (Carly Altman)

Carly Altman | Writer

September 7, 2023

Between extensive study nights, never-ending homework, and grueling sports practices, energy drinks have become a popular quick fix for high school students.

Energy drinks contain caffeine, a central nervous system stimulant that increases the activity of your brain and nervous system. It is known to increase alertness and revive energy, making it an extremely popular choice for students vying to increase their energy levels at school and at home.

Specifically, energy drinks have grown in popularity due to their convenience, low prices, enticing flavors, and high amounts of caffeine. Ranging from $2 to $5 a can, energy drinks are generally a more accessible option than coffee or other caffeinated beverages. They are also available at nearly every major general merchandise and grocery retailer. For high school students, beloved brands include Celsius, Red Bull, and Monster Energy. “I drink a Celsius almost everyday,” commented senior Chloe Owens. Social media and advertisements frequently promote and glamorize the consumption of caffeine, but fail to mention the importance of avoiding the problem: overconsumption.

HUNDREDS OF ENERGY DRINKS: sold at most general merchandise retail locations and grocery stores. (Military Times)

Caffeine has many benefits, including increased concentration, alertness, and improved productivity. Junior Adelyn Haderlie explained how, “energy drinks are the reason [she] can function every day,” after long hours of school and sports practice. However, these benefits only apply when caffeine consumption is limited to low or moderate amounts. When caffeine is consumed at an excessive level (over 400 milligrams a day), the negative effects begin to outweigh the benefits. Negative impacts include inability to sleep (insomnia), nervousness, increased heart rate, muscle tremors, and headaches. As the intake of caffeine increases, more severe negative effects may occur such as long-lasting anxiety, depression, and stomach issues. Energy drinks, such as Celsius, include 200 milligrams of caffeine per can, which is nearly 100 mg more than the recommended daily intake for those under the age of 18. This makes it extremely easy for students to overconsume caffeine without even realizing they are exceeding a moderate intake.

The most concerning aspect of energy drinks or caffeine overconsumption is its ability to instill caffeine dependency or addiction. This is characterized by frequent caffeine cravings and an inability to withdraw from caffeine consumption. If caffeine is consumed at an excessive level on a daily basis, it can cause students to feel as if they are unable to function without it. 

It is extremely important to limit caffeine consumption to low or moderate amounts, especially during adolescence and teenage years. Although it is fine to consume the occasional energy drink, it is crucial to avoid the overbearing negative aspects of overconsumption. 

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