Health education professionals weigh in on how energy drinks impact your body

Posted at 7:20 AM, Apr 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-29 08:20:37-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Many popular energy drinks are high in sugar and calories. But Bang (a newer energy drink that gained popularity a few years ago) advertisers zero calories or sugar.

But, it has double the amount of caffeine of a regular size cup of coffee, and most other energy drinks.

College students we spoke to acknowledge the health risks associated with energy drinks, but some say it's necessary to help get them through final exams.

"Energy drinks help me focus like when I'm tired and don't have motivation to study," UNO Junior Justin Farley said.

Farley says he and many of his peers often rely on the energy drinks to allow them to study longer.

"I'll get to the point where I just feel like I'm not even getting anything accomplished so I'll use an energy drink to help me out," he said.

The 16 ounce can of Bang has 300 milligrams of caffeine.

"300 milligrams wouldn't be recommended for a teenager or a young person, usually no more than 100 milligrams to 200 milligrams max," Creighton University Exercise Science Chair Dr.Joan Eckerson said.

The average 8 ounce cups of coffee has less than 100 milligrams of caffeine.

Eckerson says consuming several energy drinks a day can negatively affect you body.

She says, "the FDA regulates carbonated beverages like soda, and they can't have more than about 70 milligrams of caffeine," Eckerson said. But energy drinks aren't a food or they're not regulated by the FDA they're more like supplement."

UNO public health instructor Marcia Adler says students often neglect the best way to get energy.

"Instead of dealing with poor sleep and front-loading my capacity to be a good student, I do chemical interventions to try and make it work and ultimately, I sabotage my success," Adler said.

She says sleep is more important than most realize.

"When we sleep our brain is designed to process what we learn throughout the day and when we shortcut sleep ... we shortcut that ability to process what we've learned and so then we're trying to take a chemical and make it like pop back, it ain't up there because I didn't give it a chance to filter," Adler said.

Tim Rexius owns a local supplement store and says it's all about the amount of consumption.

"Caffeine's not completely negative," he said. It's anything that's done in over-consumption that's usually the issue."

And although students like Justin say they understand the effects of energy drinks, he won't be putting down the can any time soon.

"It has a lot of caffeine but, I guess it's almost a good thing sometimes when you're just so tired and have a lot to do," Farley said.