health Energy drinks are not always energetic

W ith widespread alarm about deaths linked to alcohol-and-caffeine-laced commercial , it's easy to overlook problems that may be linked to the so-called energy drinks that spawned them. But a number of scientists are worried about highly caffeinated beverages that are popular among teenagers and young adults.

Researchers have noted that the drinks contain high levels of caffeine and warned that certain susceptible people risk dangerous, even life-threatening, effects on blood pressure heart rate and brain function. The caffeine and caffeinelike ingredients in these drinks can mask the perception of inebriation — and that can increase the risk of drunken driving or other dangerous behaviors.

For an athlete engaged in intense exercise, the high doses of sugar in energy drinks can impair absorption of fluids and result in dehydration.

Caffeine, which is known to improve muscle action and performance, especially in endurance activities, is banned in many sports competitions.

Thus, consuming an energy drink close to an event could disqualify an athlete. Energy drinks also contain taurine and glucuronolactone.

(NYT)

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