We all know that energy drinks probably aren’t the healthiest things to drink, but new studies show some frightening information. A study by the American Heart Association found that if you drink a 32-ounce energy drink in one hour, you increase the risk of electrical disturbances in your heart.
So, what does this mean exactly? Researchers wanted to specifically look at the QT interval (the length of time for the ventricles in your heart to prepare to beat again). Participants in the study who drank 32 oz. of energy drinks (generally about two cans of Monster Energy Drink or about three cans of Red Bull) had a higher QT interval and their blood pressure shot up.
What it all means
If your QT intervals are too short or too long it can cause heart arrhythmias, increased blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, and aneurysms. These can all be life-threatening or damage your arteries and your heart.
In the study, the participant’s QT intervals were still higher four hours after drinking the energy drinks. This shows lasting effects on the body, specifically the heart. They compared the findings with participants who were given a placebo drink.
This study was fairly small and they only used healthy people. They also didn’t test these energy drinks mixed with alcohol (which is not recommended due to higher side effects). It also didn’t look at long-term effects… yet.
What the researchers warn
According to Market Watch, the researchers warned, “The public should be aware of the impact of energy drinks on their body, especially if they have other underlying health conditions. Healthcare professionals should advise certain patient populations, for example, people with underlying congenital or acquired long QT syndrome or high blood pressure, to limit or monitor their consumption.”
Other studies have found that consuming energy drinks can lead to dental problems, risk-seeking behavior and mental health problems, increased blood pressure, obesity (likely due to all the sugar in these beverages), and even kidney damage. Energy drinks can also increase your risk of blockages that cause heart attacks and strokes.
Until more studies have been done, it may be smart to lay off on the energy drinks. Try switching to a safer caffeinated beverage like coffee or tea. What do you think about energy drinks and the health concerns associated with them?