90 miles down the road at the University of New Hampshire, school administrators threatened to ban the selling of energy drinks on their campuses. This fall, the school stated health concerns as the reason for the proposed ban. The university sold approximately 60,000 drinks in an 11-month span of time.

In the year 2011, energy drinks became a $9 billion industry in the United States with brands like Red Bull, Rockstar, and Monster leading the way. This industry has us to thank— Time Magazine reported young adults contribute to 25% of this figure.

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Energy drinks can be seen in the hands of students all over the Keene State College campus. For some, energy drinks are an occasional grab, but for others, they are an essential for making it through the day.

KSC junior Nick Saulnier said he drinks at least one energy drink per day. Saulnier explained he starts his day with one to two cups of coffee, followed by a Rockstar in the afternoon, and sometimes one at night.

“I drink it because I like the buzz and its stimulating effect,” he said, “If I had to give up coffee or my energy drinks, I think it would be difficult.”

Emma Skelton, a KSC senior, said she drinks the largest can of sugar-free Red Bull she can find before going out for a night.

“I drink the sugar-free because the regular flavor is just too strong,” she said.

The Global Healing Center for Natural Health and Organic Living states there are at least six common ingredients within the variety of drinks: ginseng, carnitine, gingko biloba, taurine, inositol, and guarana seed.

Tiffany Mathews, coordinator of Wellness Education for the college, said many students don’t know a lot of the ingredients listed on the side of their cans. She said this can lead to the consumption of a potentially dangerous combination of chemicals.

KSC dietetic intern Fionna Ibale said the advertisement for many drinks is misleading.“Many energy drinks also have claims that they contain B vitamins that give you more energy; however, we usually get more than enough B vitamins in our diet and the B vitamins that are consumed from energy drinks are flushed out of the body,” she said.

“There’s not enough or any scientific evidence that B vitamins found in energy drinks will give you a boost of energy.”

A non-essential amino acid called taurine has proved most harmful to the human body. According to the Global Healing Center, taurine is created naturally in the human body, and with a healthy diet, added taurine is unneeded. Studies show consuming synthetic taurine, found in most energy drinks, can lead to high blood pressure and even the possibility of strokes, seizures, or heart disease as the acid is mixed with a high level of caffeine.

Caffeine increases energy and alertness. Studies show 100 to 200 milligrams of caffeine per day (that’s two cups of regular coffee) is enough for one person. When one consumes up to 250 to 700 mg per day, nausea, headaches, sleep difficulties, and even increased anxiety can be expected. 16 ounces of the popular energy drinks Rockstar, Amp, and Red Bull contain approximately 160 mg of caffeine. Consuming just one of these drinks brings people to the brink of their caffeine consumption for one day.

Mathews pointed out the risk students take if they do not regularly drink energy drinks and choose to consume them the night before an exam or paper is due.

“Now is not a good time to experiment,” she said, “Students who don’t know how they will react to high amounts of caffeine and taurine can end up consuming too much if they aren’t familiar with energy drinks.”

The coordinator continued, “Students can be less tolerant of the energy drinks and not realize it.” She added that this can result in the artificial energy sprouts along with putting the heart and brain in overdrive.

Mathews provided ideas for students to gain a natural energy—one that is not harmful to the body Mathews suggested eating foods high in protein along with complex carbohydrates that contain natural sugars and vitamins. She continued and advised students to stay hydrated throughout the day with water, and said to always attempt the full eight hours of sleep.

Ever notice how great you feel after you go to the gym? Your body releases endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that function as electrical signals to the brain that help relieve stress and even reduce the perception of pain. Getting exercise is a great way to boost your energy level.

Ibale said to stay away from energy drinks advertised as “natural” or “healthy.”

“These drinks are not approved by the FDA and there’s not enough scientific evidence to support their health claims,” she said.

So if you can, try and cut down on your energy drink intake and take the step to leading a healthier lifestyle without the help of synthetic chemicals running through your body.

Keep calm and carry on, Keene State.


Julie Conlon can be contacted at jconlon1@ksc.mailcruiser.com

Kim Borkowski can be contacted at kborkowski@ksc.mailcruiser.com


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