Q: What is the effect of energy drinks and coffee on the body?
A: Hmm! Talking about coffee brings back memories of Med School. I always used to love reading on my bed. Yep, you heard me. On my bed, surrounded by tomes of text books but just chilling and reading. This was my regular routine until it was time for my first major exam in Med School…the second MB exams! I felt that this was a special occasion which required a bit more from me. And so, I decided I was going to team up with a couple of my friends, go to class or the library and swot till forever! Well, that was the plan. What eventually happened was a different story all together!
One of the first principles of swotting forever is to ensure that you have a ‘never-ending’ supply of coffee. I had never been a coffee lover; so this new territory! And so, I set off trying to brew my cuppa. I should have asked for advice from the veterans…I mean, that’s common sense, isn’t it? But no! I was convinced I knew exactly what needed to be done. And so I loaded the cup with instant coffee, added hot water, sugar and milk and I was ready to face my medical tomes! Within minutes though, I realised something was terribly wrong! My tummy was rumbling, grumbling and roaring all at once! I raced into the toilet and spent the rest of the day there! There went my dream of swotting for ever!
Moral of this story: Don’t try to be like anyone else. If reading on your bed works for you, please go ahead and do just that. 😀 I learnt that the hard way! But, I digress…
Back to the question, energy drinks and coffee contain one important ingredient, caffeine. This is found in teas, chocolates and some sodas, too. Apart from the laxative effect it had on me, caffeine has other actions on the body:
- Inability to sleep (I’m sure we all know that. That was the effect I was headed for and ended up with something else :D)
- Rapid heart beat
- Irritation of the bladder
- High blood pressure etc
The recommended daily amount of caffeine is 400mg which is about the amount of coffee in two 8 ounce cups of coffee. These are the dainty cups of coffee and not the huge mug-like (Who-send-you-come?) cups that a lot of us favour 😀
The energy drinks often contain huge amounts of caffeine and are used by people as a pick-me-up for different reasons. The thing is, if you haven’t slept for 3 days and you’re trying to complete that project by taking more energy drinks that will keep you awake, you will eventually pay for this…one way or the other. It is either the side-effects of caffeine take over or you do fall asleep! You can’t cheat nature (forgive the cliché). Your body needs rest when it needs rest and it will get it one way or another!
So, if you must, one energy drink (about 500mls) once in a blue moon may not hurt you but it may be more constructive to try to pace your activities and not try to get everything done at once. Eat healthy and get some exercise (at least 30 minutes) daily. Mixing these drinks with alcohol and other recreational drugs makes it a more dangerous ‘concoction’.
Please avoid energy drinks if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure or you have a heart disease or at least speak to your doctor about it. Children and adolescents should stay off this. Pregnant women and breast feeding mothers should be especially careful.
Have a great day and a fabulous weekend ahead 😀
Here’s to healthier you!