Dangers of energy drinksSeveral health agencies and publications are sounding the alarm when it comes to energy drinks. The popular beverages have
This trendy, photogenic beverage comes with the promise of weight loss, health and happiness, yet is bringing many drinkers far more pain than gain.
An Instagram search for “loaded tea” pulls up over 11,000 images showing infinite variations on the colorful drink, usually seen in a plastic to-go cup and paired with an inspiring caption. Despite their productivity and fitness promises, loaded teas are usually just a variation of energy drink, experts say.
Loaded teas are “caffeinated, supplemented energy beverages, part multi-vitamin and part mystery and colorful craftiness — which is why I think it has a bit of a cult following and has created buzz,” certified personal trainer and sports dietitian Dr. Wendy Bazilian told CNET.
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While none of the base ingredients or qualities of loaded tea are inherently bad, they quickly become dangerous when consumed in high quantities.
“It’s the dose that’s the poison,” explained Bazilian. “Too much of something that may have some positive effect, [like] caffeine in normal levels in a real food, may become dangerous at high levels, in concentrated forms or when combined with other ingredients.”
Registered dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix told CNET that loaded teas often have 175 to 200 milligrams of caffeine — that’s anywhere from one to two-and-a-half cups of coffee’s worth. For caffeine-sensitive individuals, ingesting that much at once can cause various health problems from the jitters and trouble sleeping to increased heart rate and blood pressure, Taub-Dix said.
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Ginseng, guarana and vitamin B-3 (frequently sold in supplement form as the cholesterol-lowering nutrient niacin) are also frequently found in loaded teas, and often in unhealthily large amounts.
“A growing body of scientific evidence shows that energy drinks can have serious health effects, particularly in children, teenagers and young adults,” warned a post from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), noting that emergency room visits related to energy drinks have been rising in recent years.
The beverage class isn’t all bad, though, and it’s not necessary to avoid energy drinks or loaded teas at all costs.
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“In several studies, energy drinks have been found to improve physical endurance, but there’s less evidence of any effect on muscle strength or power. Energy drinks may enhance alertness and improve reaction time, but they may also reduce steadiness of the hands,” the NCCIH wrote.
Consumers should be wary though, especially when the market for loaded teas and their ilk is so vast, well-marketed and often poorly labeled.
Thirsty and craving a sugary drink? The occasional loaded tea or energy drink, if from a trustworthy source, likely won’t cause harm, but “don’t be fooled by magnetic claims on the front of your package, pulling you in to buy something that could bring more harm than good,” Taub-Dix warned.
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This story was originally published by the New York Post.