The Buzz On Energy Drinks

Caffeine is consumed by approximately 90% of adults every day. It's the most popular stimulant in the entire world. Coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy drinks or "energy shots," and over-the-counter supplements are widely available sources of caffeine.

Global energy drinks sales reached $57 billion by 2020. Energy drinks are the second most popular dietary supplement among U.S. teens and young adults behind multivitamins.

Most energy drinks contain 100-300 milligrams of caffeine per serving, although amounts can vary. For most people, up to 400 mgs per day of caffeine is safe.

Pregnant women and mothers who are breastfeeding need to limit their caffeine intake to 200 mg per day. Although the Food and Drug Administration does not have a recommended safe intake for children and teens, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages children and teenagers from consuming caffeine and stimulants.

Health effects

Caffeine can have different health effects depending on what dose is taken. It has been proven to increase vigilance and alertness, as well as reaction time, concentration, and alertness. The adverse effects associated with sleep deprivation can be reduced by taking caffeine. Its intake is associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, alcoholic cirrhosis and gout.

Caffeine intake can also cause anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, nervousness and irritability. People with preexisting anxiety disorders might be more vulnerable to these side effects.

An excessive intake of caffeine, which is more than 400 mg per day can lead to agitation, palpitations and tremors. Heavy caffeine use also is associated with an increased risk of other addictive behaviors, like smoking and alcohol abuse. If caffeine is not stopped immediately, people who consume it regularly may suffer from psychological and physical dependence. Many energy drinks contain high amounts of sweeteners or sugar.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests that added sugar intake should not exceed 10% of daily calories. In a diet of 2,000 calories, 200 calories must be from sugars. That's about 12 teaspoons each day.

Monster Energy Juice Pacific Punch 16 oz. contains 210 calories, 47 grams added sugar and approximately 12 teaspoons. You can get an entire day's worth added sugar from this 16-ounce Monster Energy Juice Pacific Punch.

Some energy drinks contain vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Many energy drinks may also contain herbs such as ginseng, guarana and other herbal supplements that can help increase your energy levels and alertness. There is not much research available on the safety and effectiveness of these substances. You should also be aware that some herbs supplements could interact with prescriptions.

These are some new ways to get your caffeine fix.

PEACH ICEDTEA

Servings: 10

Put the mint and peaches in a large, heatproof pitcher. Use a spoon to muddle the fruit until they are soft and mushy. Place the tea bags in a cup and add hot water. Allow to steep for 20 minutes. Take out the tea bags. Cool the tea bags. Add ice to glasses. Strain the hot tea. Add mint leaves if you wish.

Nutritional information per portion: 14 calories; 6 mg sodium, 3 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein and 47 mg caffeine

FROZEN CHACCINO

Servings: 2

Place coffee on an ice tray and freeze until it is firm. Blend the coffee, vanilla, milk, syrup, maple syrup, and frozen coffee cubes in a blender. Blend until smooth. If you prefer it thicker, add plain ice cubes. Divide between 2 glasses. If desired, dust with cocoa powder. Serve immediately

Tip: When making iced or blended coffees, double-strength espresso or coffee gives you the most delicious coffee flavors. Double the coffee grounds to brew double strength coffee. When espresso is brewed frequently, it's strong enough.

Nutritional information per portion: 127 calories, 2 g fat (1.g saturated fat), 74 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 5 g protein and 250 mg caffeine