Should Energy Drinks Be Regulated?
Should Energy Drinks Be Regulated?
Human beings are involved in a wide variety of activities on a daily basis. These activities include but not limited playing, working in the office, menial jobs, and studying. Notably, all these engagements require mental attention as well as physical input that often lead to exhaustion. Sometimes, engaging in too much of activity could lead to numbness, fatigue, and changes in mood. However, there are some ways in which people attempt to regain the energy spent in the various activities. Among the most common methods include having a nap, taking a shower, drinking plenty of fruit juice, and taking energy drinks. Apparently, there has been the introduction of different brands of energy drinks in the market, such as red bull, over that last few years. An energy thirst-quencher is intended to stimulate the body and the mind by providing extra energy. These energy drinks contain a lot of chemical compounds, predominantly caffeine, and said to be a dietary supplement. Nevertheless, the excessive caffeine has raised concerns over whether there is a need for regulation of the energy drinks in the markets. There is a remarkable amount of energy drinks in the retail stores due to the aggressive campaigns and the youths have overindulged in consumption, often leading to undesirable traits and medical implications. This paper, therefore, seeks to explore the specific reasons as to why energy drinks should be regulated.
One of the adverse effects of the energy drinks is that they have high levels of caffeine content. In the recent past, there has been escalating reports of caffeine intoxication due to high intake of energy drinks. It is estimated that the caffeine composition of energy drink can be up to 300 milligrams per serving. However, since many people especially teenager takes energy drinks as a social drink, they normally take more than two cans in certain occasions which increase the chances of health implications. High levels of caffeine could lead to immediate effects such as headaches and migraines, nervousness and increased heartbeat. Furthermore, more critical side effects could arise from taking too much caffeine which includes arrhythmia, vomiting as well as seizures, and inconsistent sleep patterns. In certain disorders such as insomnia, excess intake of energy drink results to people lacking sleep which impairs normal functioning. This is dangerous as one may not drive or perform other tasks that require high concentration (Ford 2015).
Moreover, caffeine causes variation in adenosine receptors resulting in increased anxiety. Furthermore, due to high sugar concentration in the energy drinks, it may exhaust the pancreas cells that produce insulin thus resulting to type two diabetes. In this regard, it is approximated that the energy drinks contains up to 35 grams of sugar content per serving. This quantity is above the recommended daily limit which exposes the consumer to health risks. Intake of too much sugar raises the chances for obesity since add sugars add extra calories. Also, energy drinks are associated with allergic reactions since the drinks are made up of many ingredients that may cause minor itching or other serious problem such as airway constriction. Another health-related issue in the consumption of the energy drink is the high blood pressure. Notably, the people who suffer from blood pressure may suffer a high risk of getting stroke or hypertension by consuming excessive drinks for a short period. However, such incidences are associated with intake of products with caffeine that raises the blood pressure of a person (Mayo Clinic 2016). Also, some of the drinks such as the Rockstar energy drink result to an enhanced stress hormone release. In the study, it was found that the mean norepinephrine level of people taking drinks increased by above 70 percent while for the control group increased by about 30 percent. Moreover, energy drinks contain vitamin B and hence excessive intake of the drink result to high intake of vitamin B namely niacin or pyridoxine which may result in nerve or liver injury.
Regarding the health issues, the Government is directly concerned since it is its obligation to offer affordable health services to the citizens. Therefore, anything that may raise the concern to the health of the public is critical. In this case, the intake of energy drinks may result in various diseases that may eventually lead to increase in the government spending due to a high level of illnesses. Thus, if the increase in the spending is high, the governments likely to increase the tax rates to finance the high expenditures on the health sector. This affects the common citizen due to the increased standard of living. Therefore, the government may end up regulating the product to avoid these unnecessary cost caused by excessive intake of energy drinks. More so, since most illnesses are caused by excessive intake of the drink; regulations may not interfere with the sales of the product but only the quantity of the drink. Hence, the regulation would only cause insignificant changes.
Furthermore, the excessive intake of energy drinks leads to addiction. Addiction is a state in which a person develops a high dependence on a substance and cannot function normally without being under the influence of the substance (Seifert, Schaechter, Hershorin, and Lipshultz 2011). As such, teenagers and young adults usually aged between the age of 16 years and 24 years have been found to be addicted to the use of energy drinks. The excess amount of caffeine in leads to adverse effects just like nicotine in cigarettes. Consequently, the productivity of the addicts reduces significantly and their levels of concentration also drop. More so, the addicts depend on the energy drinks to remain awake rather than having quality sleep and rest so that they will be refreshed after waking up. In addition to these consequences, staying for long periods of time without the high caffeine content in the body could lead to adverse withdrawal symptoms such as severe headaches, sleeplessness, and nose bleeding (Buck, Dixon, Matjasich, and Petersen 2013). As a result, the addicts of energy drinks often suffer from mood disturbances as well as drowsiness.
Another negative effect of using excessive energy drinks is involvement in risky and weird behaviour. The most common behaviour alterations in teenagers and young adults are indulgence in unprotected and irresponsible sex, aggression, and violence. Evidently, these attributes are undesirable, and the parents of these young people pass through a difficult time in taming the outrageous conduct. More so, these behaviours could culminate to legal suits as well as unwanted pregnancies due to impaired judiciousness. Also, it is likely that that those who have the tendency of consuming too much energy drinks will engage in the use of narcotics (Rogers 2007). For instance, most students mix the energy drinks with alcohol and consume the beverage during school hours or other times when they are supposed to be engaging in constructive activities. Furthermore, most users of the energy drinks are also likely to develop an unnecessary phobia towards people, animals, or items that are potentially safe for interactions. This weird demeanour is characteristic of individuals with mental disorders, but sadly, it manifests itself in frequent consumers of energy drinks. Consequently, this affects their interpersonal relationships and damages their social life (Miller 2008).
Notably, there are many other ingredients in the energy drinks besides caffeine. These include guarana and taurine. While an exhaustive list of the adverse effects associated with caffeine exists, diminutive is acknowledged about the effects of the other chemical ingredients. As a result, the regulation of the drinks remains, and the people who are addicted to the drinks take advantage of this loophole. However, it is evident from the available market data that the major consumers of the energy drinks are the young people, especially students. Coincidentally, as the rate of consumption increases, there is a proportionate increase in the level of illicit behaviour and medical emergencies among this cohort. These simultaneous occurrences could imply that the two understudied ingredients of the energy drinks have an undesirable impact to some extent.
On the other hand, the caffeine boosts the activeness of an individual and prepares one for the day if taken in the right proportion. Moreover, other routine drinks such as coffee and tea contain caffeine that keeps people awake, yet they are not restrictedin their intake. Caffeine, for instance, is very helpful for the people who engage in a day long activities since it assists one to remain awake and active for a long time. Moreover, the energy drinks are taken as dietary supplements, and their restriction would result in too much legislation in the country (Higgins, Tuttle and Higgins 2010). For instance, some drinks have the contents that improve memory and enhance the movement of blood in the brain, eyes, and ears. Furthermore, some other drinks have fruits and herbs that protect the cells of the body from oxidation. Examples of such fruits include acai berries. Additionally, the marketing of the product is not restricted by the food and beverages board across any age category. Unlike, cigarettes that are banned for advertisement, energy drinks are allowed to be advertised freely, and they have no age limit as to who would take the products. Moreover, the energy drinks are allowed to be taken by athletes and are not considered as doping by respective bodies. The sportsmen normally take the drinks to enhance their activeness during their performances as well as boosting their morale. However, the intake of the products becomes dangerous when taken excessively.
The counter arguments proposed by those opposed to regulation are clearly misplaced and lack concrete basis. This is because research indicates that there is no scientifically proven therapeutic effect of these drinks (Seifert, Schaechter, Hershorin, and Lipshultz 2011). In light of this, it is inappropriate to match coffee or tea to energy drinks since they have very different compositions and interact with the body functions differently. In fact, while coffee and tea grow naturally and have reasonable and medically acceptable levels of caffeine, energy drinks are made in the laboratories through a series of mixing additive sugars and other artificial sweeteners. As a result, they have a more destructive role in the body than natural caffeine. Additionally, the fact that the products are marketed in the public domain does not guarantee their safety for consumption. In fact, the only reason it becomes difficult to regulate the energy beverages are for the reason that they are often classified as nutritional supplements. However, this classification can be overturned if there is sufficient evidence that links energy drinks to risky behaviour as well as health problems.
In conclusion, it is evident that there are numerous side effects emanating from intake of the energy drinks. This ranges from health related issues to social issues. For instance, it is vividly elaborated how the intake of the excessive caffeine would lead health issues such as insomnia, type 2 diabetes and among other disorders while the social issues include addiction and social behaviours. Health is a critical aspect that would attract the government attention due to the costs involved. Moreover, the social issue may lead to a rise in crime rate hence affecting the security of the nation. Therefore, regulating the energy drinks would be a prudent move by the government since it would help in reduction of social vices as well as health costs.
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