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AFSHAN YASMEEN
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Doctors say energy drinks can cause renal and heart problems

Nearly 71 per cent of people in urban areas, between the ages of 14 and 30, have a habit of consuming energy drinks, according to a recent survey by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

Doctors and dieticians say the statistics are shocking as many children who consume these energy drinks, which promise to boost energy, appearance, performance and improve immunity and overall health, are unmindful of its ill-effects. Energy drinks are non-alcoholic beverages containing high levels of sugar, caffeine and protein apart from guarana, glucuronolactone, taurine, ginseng, inositol, carnitine and B vitamins as main ingredients that act as stimulants.

Doctors say the high levels of sugar and potentially harmful levels of caffeine can actually harm your health. They can be linked to seizures in known epileptic individuals and behavioural disorders in children. The high levels of proteins that break into amino acids can also cause renal and heart problems apart from other complications.

The survey conducted in major cities, including Delhi Bangalore, Mumbai, Haryana, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad, had a sample size of 2,500. . “While 82 per cent of teenagers admitted that they wanted energy drinks during exercise for extra energy, 61 per cent said they used it for better hydration and 40 per cent as they preferred the taste,” said the survey. C.N. Manjunath, director of Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology, says indiscriminate consumption of energy drinks can result in renal and heart problems.

“The person can develop high blood pressure that can result in enlargement of the heart and even heart failure,” he says.

NIMHANS Director P. Satish Chandra, a neurologist specialising in epilepsy, says high caffeine can bring down the threshold for seizures in a person with epilepsy.

The high sugar levels result in hyperglycemia in susceptible people and hyperglycemia is known to cause behavioural problems and also seizures in children. There are various studies to establishing a link between caffeine and epilepsy among known epileptics, he adds.

Dietician Sheela Krishnaswamy says energy drinks can do more harm than good.“It is better to eat a plantain for quick energy.”AFSHAN YASMEEN

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