If you’re searching for the fountain of youth, you probably won’t find it at the bottom of an energy drink can.
Most energy drinks are loaded with caffeine, added sugars, additives and legal stimulants like guarana, taurine and L-carnitine. Drinking them can lead to adverse health effects like dehydration, anxiety and issues listed below, which can affect a person’s life expectancy.
How energy drinks affect your heart
A healthy heart is one ticket to longevity, but that ticket is jeopardized by consistently drinking energy drinks. Energy drink consumption has been linked to high blood pressure and irregular heart rate, among other health conditions.
A 2019 Journal of the American Heart Association study of 34 healthy individuals found that about four hours after drinking a 32-ounce energy drink, the heart’s electrical activity was abnormal compared to drinking a placebo drink. Various case reports have also tied energy drink consumption to atrial fibrillation (Afib). Afib is a type of irregular heartbeat that impacts the upper chambers of the heart. If left untreated, Afib can cause heart palpitations, blood clots, stroke and even heart failure in some extreme cases.
How energy drinks affect your skin
Sugar can be a major age accelerator, aging the cells when consumed in excess. Excess sugar may increase the breakdown of natural proteins in our bodies, like collagen and elastin, which give our skin structure, shape and firmness. When collagen and elastin wear away, our skin can become wrinkled, saggy and dry.
How energy drinks affect your teeth
The citric acid in energy drinks and soda can erode tooth enamel over time. A 2021 Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry study examined blocks of human enamel that were immersed in energy drinks and a popular soda brand for 30 minutes. All drinks did damage to enamel, but energy drinks were the harshest. Enamel’s job is to protect your teeth from damage. When tooth enamel is compromised, it makes your mouth prone to bacteria.
How energy drinks affect your sleep
Poor sleep and sleep deprivation can affect life expectancy. Studies link the consumption of energy drinks to sleep latency, as the caffeine and other stimulant ingredients that give us that temporary jolt of energy and make us alert can last up to eight hours after we’re done drinking. These beverages can not only make it more difficult to fall and stay asleep, but they can also reduce overall sleep time.
Natural sources of energy
If you’re an energy drink drinker and want to quit or cut back, try mixing in these natural alternatives to see which method works best for you.
- Get morning light exposure to trigger your body’s internal clock and boost alertness.
- Exercise to get your heart rate up and blood flowing, which releases endorphins and raises your energy level.
- Set and stick to a consistent sleep schedule.
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