What a cardiologist wants you to know about these caffeinated drinks. By Dawn Chen
Are Energy Drinks Safe to Drink if I Didn’t Exercise? Photo: StockSnap / www.pixabay.com
After going hard at your workout, there’s nothing more refreshing than an ice-cold energy drink. Such drinks are generally safe for consumption when taken in moderation, but guzzling down too much could spell trouble (note: if you’re taking an isotonic drink instead, just do a quick check that it doesn’t contain caffeine). Dr Ng Kheng Siang, cardiologist at Gleneagles Hospital shares more.
In general, are energy drinks safe for consumption after a rigorous workout?
Energy drinks should be safe for consumption as long as they are taken in moderation.
While most energy drinks contain caffeine, B vitamins, taurine (an amino acid found in food from animal sources), flavouring and artificial sweeteners, caffeine is the primary ingredient, and is often blamed for the negative health effects experienced and reported by some people especially after consuming too many energy drinks.
Experts believe it’s safe for most healthy adults to consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day. Acute clinical toxicity begins at 1g, and 5 to 10g can be lethal.
Is it safe to take an energy drink if I have not exercised?
Don’t gulp down your energy drink just to stay awake. Doing so is generally not recommended. According to the European Food Safety Authority, only “active individuals performing endurance exercise” should consume such drinks. In addition to the high levels of caffeine in these drinks, they also usually include high levels of sugar, and up to 270 calories per bottle – bad news for your weight and waistline!
Do females have to drink a smaller portion of energy drinks compared to males?
Although gender differences have been reported in caffeine tolerance, there has been no recommendation thus far in terms of how much a female can take compared to the male counterpart. If you’ve worked out, go ahead and down a can of your favourite energy drink, but stop if you feel unwell.
Is there a limit to how many cans of energy drinks I can consume in a day?
The consumption of energy drink should more or less follow a person’s usual pattern of caffeine intake. For example, one 250ml can of Red Bull Energy Drink contains 80mg of caffeine, which is roughly the same amount as a cup of coffee.
Health Canada has conducted an extensive review of the scientific literature on caffeine and concluded that the general population of healthy adults is not at risk for potential adverse effects from caffeine if they limit their consumption to 400mg per day.
Are there certain groups of people who should avoid energy drinks?
Pregnant and breast-feeding women are advised to limit their daily intake of caffeine to 300mg. Children should also consume less caffeine than adults due to their lower body weight. Patients with hypertension should also avoiding energy drinks as they can significantly increase one’s heart rate and blood pressure.
What are other negative effects of energy drinks?
Drinking low to moderate amounts of caffeine is generally safe, but consuming too much (4 to 12mg/kg) can result in negative side effects like anxiety, jitters and headaches. Overdosing on caffeine (six to 15 days of 600mg a day or more) can result in insomnia, tremors, tachycardia, heart palpitations, and an upset stomach. At the highest levels of caffeine consumption (5 to 10g), it can induce severe consequences like vomiting, abdominal pain, hallucinations, stroke, paralysis, seizures and even death.
When should I seek medical attention if I feel unwell after drinking an energy drink?
Seek immediate medical attention if you feel unwell and experience symptoms like heart palpitations, chest pain, nausea, difficulty breathing or shivering after consuming an energy drink.