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Will Too Much Energy Send You To The Hospital?

Energy_drinks180 gallons (681.5 liters) a year. That’s how much The Atlantic says the typical (average) American drinks every year. That’s five small cups (or three large cups) of Starbucks coffee a day. Or it’s five cans of soda, like Coca Cola, or five glasses of milk. Does that sound like a lot? Maybe, but maybe not.

To me, the interesting part of The Atlantic article wasn’t how much Americans drink. It’s what they drink and how that’s been changing. The Atlantic tells us that “American drinking habits have undergone a major shift (change) in the last decade (ten years).” The consumption (to eat or drink something) of soda is down (has decreased) more than 15%. Bottled water is up (has increased) 50%. Energy drinks, like Red Bull and 5-Hour Energy, are up 100%. Cheap light beer is down, but craft beers are up. And wine and spirits – strong alcoholic drinks like brandy, whiskey, bourbon, and gin – are up.

The energy drink statistic (a number that represents a fact) caught my attention (made me stop and think). I’m not surprised that energy drink consumption has doubled in the last ten years. I wouldn’t have been surprised if it had tripled (increased three times) or even more. Energy drinks seem to be everywhere, including in the news.

Many people believe that energy drinks give them more energy and help them think better. Or, as the manufacturers say, they “provide consumers (people who use them) with a physical and mental edge (advantage).” However, there may be a problem.

According to a recent government study, reported by The New York Times, more than 20,000 people went to the hospital emergency room (ER) because of problems related to using energy drinks in 2011. The problems included anxiety (the feeling of being very worried), headaches, irregular (not regular) heartbeats, and heart attacks. In 2007, the number of ER visits was only 10,000.

The problem isn’t only with the energy drinks. The study also shows that nearly half of those who went to the ER “for problems related to energy drinks had consumed the drinks along with alcohol or other substances (drugs)….” Many of these are 18-to-25-year-old young men.

The government study says that “consumption of energy drinks is a rising (growing) public health problem because medical and behavioral (how someone acts) problems can result from excessive (too much) caffeine intake (consumption)…particularly for children, adolescents (teenagers), and young adults (18-25-year-olds).” The manufacturers, on the other hand, insist that their products are safe.

Probably the safest thing to say is that we need more research about the benefits and the effects of energy drinks. And probably the wisest thing to do until that research is done is to exercise caution (be careful) with them.

Are energy drinks popular where you live? Do you use them?

~ Warren Ediger – English tutor/coach and creator of Successful English, where you’ll find clear explanations and practical suggestions for better English.

Photo of energy drinks courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

17 Responses to “Will Too Much Energy Send You To The Hospital?”

  1. Giovanni Says:

    I’ve banned caffeine from my diet some years ago, so I don’t drink energy drinks at all.
    Do you know that Mr Red Bull (I can’t remember his name, I only know he’s from Austria) was inspired by a Thai drink?

    Giovanni

  2. Dan Says:

    Hello guys.

    I like thinking of this blog as a classroom at a global scale. Fascinating thought.

    Anyway, for me it’s easier making the list of what I do drink: Tap water, Tea and Barley coffe. That’s all.

    Thanks

  3. sutisha Says:

    Energy drinks have been popular in Thailand for many years -more than 20 years as I remember. Nowadays, one which is the most popular brand name is popular in several countries. I’m not sure whether I can post its name here. I once drank it after playing tennis for 3 sets on a rather hot day than usual. A friend suggested and bought me a bottle. I sipped it little by little and to be honest, I didn’t appreciate the taste but I said nothing to upset my generous friend who was smiling and watching me drinking slowly in very small amounts. A few days later, I got much more tired and just had some cold fresh water to quench my thirst. I have no idea why so many people believe in it, especially the physically manual workers and unskilled workers. For me, I credit to a dish of rice with Thai chicken curry and fried egg! Why?
    Because one and a half bottles’ price is equivalent to my favorite healthy dish. I really concern that one or two bottles a day is a waste of a person earning a daily wage.

    sutisha

  4. Peter Says:

    Dear warren ,
    Very interesting take!
    U know , for staters ,answer this very question.
    Why does the related Government body permits such iffy products to laugh in the market, in the first place?
    I can’t understand why the central quality control office or what ever you guys call it in U.S. don’t ban the products to ever distribute.
    They should nip the problem in the bud.
    Instead, the let such harmful products find their way to people’s house, and then spend ,rather waist tons of dollars discouraging people from consuming them.
    U know , this energy drinks ,like alcohol , cause dehydration. Obviously mixing the two ,double the amount of dehydration in body. I have heard the impact is even worst when it is used while working out.
    I never ever drank any Energy drink. But , I saw people mix it with Vodka
    And drink it
    Back in college ,most of my classmate drank the cans of red bull two or three per day even more to help them pull all-nighers at the time of exams , in particular , final exams.
    I always advice them against it.
    Guys ,don’t get me wrong . I m not taking a high moral ground here.
    Let me fess up sth here ,once ,but hand to God just once ,I drank two red bulls for a final exams to pull an all-nighter. I was way behind. I drank two cans of red-bull , so I can stay up longer to cram up the material for the exam. And , all I did was drooling on my desk ,the next day in the class. ;)) I mean , I kept dozing off. :))
    I flaunted the course and had to retake it.
    Well, I wasn’t the brightest in the class
    But, I sure Was a class clown. :))

    Yours

    The knucklehead :))

  5. John Says:

    I’m from Austria – Energy drinks are very popular with young adults over here – The first time I noticed how much of them consume energy drinks on a daily basis was when I did my military service.
    Many guys there would buy a Red Bull or some other energy drink right after breakfast and for/after lunch….I have to say, from my experience, there are mainly two groups of people: those who never consume energy drinks (or maybe 1 or 2 in a half year) and those
    who regularly consume energy drinks…. I for myself don’t drink energy drinks – I had my last sip like 2 yeas ago? –> I did drink more when I was younger, but not on a regular basis…I would absolutely go with that study posted by Warren (…”it’s manly 18-25 year old male persons”).

    I was brought up believing that energy drinks are bad – at least that’s what my mom always told me when I was young…so I never craved for that stuff…
    My take on energy drinks is: there’s too much sugar inside, they are way too expensive (at least Red Bull), if you really something that makes you stay awake, a cup of coffee would do it too..and all that vitamin stuff you can easily get by eating fruits and/or vegetables…

    @Giovanni: his name is “Dieter Mateschitz”

  6. John Says:

    Oh yes, I forgot to say – As sutisha said, I also noticed that most of the energy drinks consumers are persons who have to do a lot of physical work. During my stay at the military, those guys who didn’t finish school were more likely to drink energy drinks than the other guys…

  7. emiliano Says:

    Nice post sutisha, just a pleasure to read it. I think your English is really good.

    As Dan said, more or less I only drink the same like him, a coffe with milk at the mornings, some glasses of tap water (about 2 litros
    by day) and a cup of tea at the evenings. Nothing more, not any alcohol drinks for more than 20 years and the same about energetic
    drinks, in fact never I have drink a botle of that kind of drinks, sorry but only a coke from time to time, may be five or six by year.

    Cuca, my wife likes some coke in the evenings but only a glass or less, for me it is nice to give her something she likes.

    The problem here in Spain is “alcohol” drinks, some girls or boys start to drink alcohol only with fourteen or less years, and now
    it is their form of having a good time.
    Thousands of them meet some public space, a square or park or even in the middle of the streets at the week-end nights and they
    do what its called “botellón”. To me this absolutely incredible and evidently very bad for them just to begin so young to drink
    alcoholic drinks mixed with coke or tonic drinks.

    It should be good to have a law like in EE.UU. that forbids selling alcohol drinks to young less than 21 or at least 18, but Spain
    it is different by all means.

    Thank you Warren, it could be a good topic to talk about just a lot.

    emiliano

  8. David Says:

    I used it two years ago, but not anymore. I left using it after noticing a strange feeling in chest while training in the pool. However, it is also true that caffeine affects me very much.

  9. kuo Says:

    Hi, guys, it’s to be or not to be, legal or not ilegal ,
    In my country, Taiwan is ilegal, why? you guys must be very interested to know …

    [Link removed according to our no links policy.]

  10. Dan Says:

    Hello everyone,

    I do not get it! really! That is an age where you are supposed to be at the high of your ENERGY.

    What are they going to drink at 40/50 Nitroglycerine?? Cam’on! What are they? Spineless?

    They should change the name of that product. Call it: Spineless’drink or Wimp’s drink.

    I wanna see if it sells that much.

    There are several guys at my workplace half of my age (42) that are …….what can I say….remember we have to keep the blog clean….are unbelievable.

  11. Peter Says:

    Dear Dan ,
    I m at the peak of my energy,so I don’t feel the need to boost my Energy level ,another words, refresh myself with some artificially manufactured products saturated with additives.
    Instead , I make sure to do my Pilates everyday before going to work. Besides , I go swimming 4 or 5 times per week. I usually do 30 laps within 40 minutes in a standard size pool. And,that sporting activities my friend is enough to jump my energy level off chart :))
    I ll tell u man , swimming is the best because all your body works out. All the muscles in your body works out as you swim
    And ,I m guessing ,human body has a affinity to water. You feel fresh. Swimming always puts me in a good mood,another words , it cheers me up. Swimming is refreshing, so a regular routine morning exercise.
    So , the answer is taking on an sport and do it regularly.

    Yours

  12. sutisha Says:

    Thank you Warren for your critical thinking article, John for agreeing to my idea, and Emiliano for giving me more confidence to write. Several years before this, I practiced a lot of grammar exercises again and again and also read every available English book. However, my listening and speaking skills are poor. I got to know ESL Podcast last month. It gradually caught my attention as I carefully listened to a few
    interesting podcast and the English Cafe. So…Thank you Jeff.

    sutisha

  13. Juergen Says:

    Most of the time I drink water and green tea.

    All the other Soft- and Energy drinks contain to much sugar, that’s one main
    reason why million and million people have problems with their weight and healthiness.

    Juergen, Germany

  14. Dan Says:

    Congratulations Pete

    That’s not easy. You must be huge, I mean physically.
    I used to swim. At the moment a part from walking and using
    the kinect I am kind of lazy. I am a wimp too at times. Hehehe!
    Well I am also the humble slave of Princess..

  15. Annie Says:

    I don’t drink them and I don’t like them either.
    people around me are divided into two groups. Adults normaly don’t drink them and young kids drink them more.

    We prefer healthy drinks, water would be great. So we convey to young kids around us. but to know is one thing and to do is another thing…

  16. Nele Says:

    We have juice from our own apples. The children like this very much, with one part tap water. Unfortunately the juice is not enough this year to reach until next september. At birthday or a party we also have a wine, a beer or a Coke.
    I don’t drink energy drinks, I think too much sugar and to expensive caffein. I know that the children sometimes drink one with their friends. But I’m not worry about it – apple juice is better.

  17. geronimo Says:

    i dont drink energy drink at all but i do drink a lot of juice and eat many fruits.
    by the way guys i would love you to talk about protein powder one day.
    thank you very much guys for bringing us all of this good topics you guys are the best!!.