How Energy Drinks Affect Children and Young People: Research Recap

Energy drinks do not belong in the diet of a five-year-old. You already knew that. But do you know what happens when children do have energy drinks? Thanks to research by Durham University in the UK, we now have a good idea how many kids and teens in different countries drink energy drinks and how those drinks affect their health.

›We’re recapping the findings of this paper: “Consumption of energy drinks by children and young people: a rapid review examining evidence of physical effects and consumer attitude

*Note – the research paper by Durham University uses the expression “children and young people” to refer to those under 18. At the age of 33, I still consider myself a “young person”, so I’m going to use the expression “kids and teens” instead. Read more

Will Energy Drinks Hurt Blood Vessels?

A study presented at the November 2018 American Heart Association conference claimed, “Just one energy drink may hurt blood vessel function.” It’s been a few months since the last “energy drinks are killing people” freak out, so I suppose we were due.  Instead of pointing out all the limitations in the study (because this Healthline article beat me to it and did a great job) I’m going to skip the science for today and just talk about the 10 energy drinks that will not hurt your blood vessels.

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Is V8 Really an Energy Drink? A Primer on the Science of Energy Drinks in Disguise [GreenEyedGuide on ScienceMeetsFood]

In this article I wrote for ScienceMeetsFood.org, I address the problem behind the term “energy drink” and the science behind energy drinks in disguise. (There’s also a Guardians of the Galaxy metaphor!) It’s a great primer if you’ve never heard the term “energy drink in disguise”, or if you never realized that V8 and Ocean Spray make energy drinks. Read this article in its entirety at ScienceMeetsFood.org

“I’ve been studying energy drinks since 2003 and they continue to both fascinate and horrify me. They fascinate me because I’m a biochemistry major, or maybe it’s the other way around. Energy drinks are the reason I pursued my masters in food science (and the reason I survived grad school). Metabolic biochemistry is the closest I’ll ever come to engineering – for me, studying biochemistry is studying the secret rules to how things work.

Energy drinks horrify me because it feels like people with no science background are behind some of the products you can buy online. Sometimes I’ll read a label and think, “What are they doing? Who thought this was a good idea?” The most concerning aspect of energy drinks is we don’t have a proper nomenclature to classify them properly. (#WhatWouldIUPACDo?) Using the term “energy drink” the way we do is like calling pure ethanol “booze”. Let’s talk about why the lack of classification is a problem.

Is V8 Really Energy Drink
Read this on ScienceMeetsFood

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How Much Carnitine? Book Excerpt of the Week

For last week’s Book Excerpt, we reviewed the role of carnitine in the body and how it helps the body’s powerhouse, the Mighty Mitochondria. This week we ask, “How much carnitine is too much?”

With a well-balanced diet, a healthy human body makes enough carnitine to meet demand.

Carnitine supplements have been used in clinical trials for age-related cognitive decline, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease. These studies use carnitine in GRAMS and many energy drinks contain carnitine in MILLIGRAMS.

In other words, don’t expect the carnitine amount in energy drinks to MAKE YOU OVERDOSE on carnitine or PREVENT COGNITIVE DECLINE.

The body is pretty effective at getting rid of excess carnitine so consuming too much shouldn’t be a big concern… unless you have an empty stomach. Taruine, carnitine, and B-vitamins can irritate an empty stomach, leading to nausea, light-headedness, and other stomach pains.

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GreenEyedGuide Caffeine Challenge Day 5/10 – Caffeine Limits and Mondays

For Day 5 of the GreenEyedGuide Caffeine Challenge, we talk about when MONDAY RUINS your SUNDAY! We talk about the importance of planning ahead, why 400 is a magic number for caffeine consumption, and what countries exceed that magic number. ***PLAY ALONG – post a picture of your tricks to nurse your caffeine on Instagram/ Facebook/Twitter and tag @GreenEyedGuide, or add your pictures to the Caffeine Challenge Event page at Facebook.com/GreenEyedGuide/events

Through this challenge, you’ll learn how to use the 5 Levels of Fatigue to reap the benefits of caffeine while avoiding addiction, dependence, tolerance, and toxicity.