“It's legal, what's the problem?!” Why are energy boosters a danger? From the tonic effect, to diabetes, tachycardia and addiction

The ban on the marketing of energy drinks to minors, a measure that could be applied soon after a law was passed on Tuesday, February 20, 2024, has reopened the discussion about the negative effects of consuming such products, especially at young ages.

Young people “help” themselves with energizers to resist the exciting rhythm PHOTO: archive/Shutterstock

Doctors draw attention to the fact that drinks containing various combinations of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, with two or more substances such as caffeine, taurine, carnitine, guarana, glucuronolactone and other compounds with a stimulating effect on the central nervous system, can have effects among the most serious.

“Predispose to faster onset of diabetes”

First, they have a lot of glucose in them. Those sweeteners predispose the pancreas to extra effort. They also have caffeine, (…) and for a 14-15 year old child, consumption is not indicated, because may cause tachycardia. Eand usually they also combine them with something, and that increases the danger”, says pediatrician Viorel Dumitrescu.

The high glucose content, the doctor states, “predisposes to a faster onset of diabetes, by depleting pancreatic resources, especially if you have a predisposition“.

Since it is a drink, blood sugar rises very quickly after consumption, explains diabetologist Anca Roman.

“It's not like eating food, in which case it takes longer for all the nutrients to break down and get into the bloodstream. The drink immediately absorbs”says Dr. Roman.

The pancreas is overworked to secrete insulin just as quickly to maintain good blood sugars, and all the ups and downs affect the growing body of the child or teenager. The B vitamins contained can produce agitation, and compounds such as carnitine, a substance recommended for athletes in certain situations, are not necessary at all for people who do not have intense physical activity or who do not have certain deficiencies.

The consumption of energy drinks, which has become a habit, also affects adults.

They were basically made as tonics, their purpose was to increase our ability to concentrate a little, our reaction speed, to reduce our fatigue, but they were misunderstood, because they started to be consumed for pleasure “explains diabetologist Anca Roman, who claims that they should only be consumed by adults and only when needed.

“It's a fashion, they have the feeling that they are gods and that they can”

Aurora Szocs, a psychologist and school counselor, says that energy drink consumption falls into the same category as smoking, drugs and alcohol. Children and teenagers often end up doing this to be accepted by the group or to cope with certain activities. If your friends stay up late, you'll be labeled as a “slacker” if you don't keep up with them, for example. And after a lost night, an energizer will also help you not to sleep on the bench at school, and when its effect has passed, you consume one more and thus enter a carousel from which it is difficult to get out.

“It's a fashion, they have this feeling that they are gods and that they can. It gives them strength, it gives them strength to have even more energy, to cope”, says the psychologist.

Even worse, most don't feel like it's a problem.

“They don't come to the office for addiction like that, because they don't think it's a problem. “It's legal, it's on all the roads, what's the problem?!” I tell them what it contains, I tell them what effects it has, I send them for tests, I show them that their liver is affected, but if the parents don't understand, it's very difficult to work like that. Especially since they are very, very cheap, for three lei you get your dose”Szocs also said