Bang! Your caffeine intake has shot up if you have given in to the national energy drink craze, such as the mass consumption of Bang Energy Drinks. Per the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, almost one third of people ages 12-17 consume energy drinks frequently. In addition to energy drink consumption, teens frequently consume caffeinated beverages such as tea, soda and coffee. Caffeine should be consumed in moderation, and caffeine can have adverse health effects that outweigh the extra energy received.
Moderation can be a very vague term to describe how to limit consumption. What is defined as the right amount of caffeine before it becomes harmful? Per a study titled “Systematic review of the potential adverse effects of caffeine consumption in healthy adults, pregnant women, adolescents, and children,” the acceptable amount of caffeine for adolescents and children is less than 2.5 milograms (mg) per kilogram (kg) of their body weight per day. To put that into terms of the imperial system of measurement, this is 1.134 mg of caffeine per pound. For example, a person that weighs 150 pounds should consume a maximum of 170.1 mg of caffeine, and a person that weighs 200 pounds should consume a maximum of 226.8 mg of caffeine.
Keeping these numbers in mind and the fact that close to one third of people ages 12-17 are consuming energy drinks, the caffeine usage of most teens is completely unhealthy. One increasingly popular energy drink company, Bang Energy, has an alarmingly high amount of caffeine per serving. Per the nutrition facts on its website, Bang RTD contains 300 mg of caffeine. For teens under an estimate of 265 pounds, their maximum daily caffeine intake is exceeded in the consumption of one can of Bang.
Senior Rachel Abbott decided one day to try Bang after seeing other teens drinking it frequently.
“At first I felt really good and energized, and then I crashed and got really anxious,” Abbott said. “Later, I looked it up and saw that others had the same experience.”
This anxiety that Abbott refers to is commonly linked with caffeine use and is not an experience limited to Bang drinks. Other energy drinks such as Monster Energy and Rockstar Energy both contain 160 mg per can, which depending on a person’s weight can either exceed maximum daily caffeine intake or near it.
Energy drinks, however, are not alone in their high caffeine content. While most teas and sodas contain relatively low amounts of caffeine, the same cannot be said for coffee in most cases.
For example, Starbucks, beloved by many teens, has a menu filled with coffee with high amounts of caffeine, particularly in their grande-sized or greater creations. In their grande size, the Blonde Roast, Medium Roast, Reserve Roast and Curdusio Mocha all boast caffeine contents of greater than 300 mg.
Obviously, coffee and energy drinks can help teens push through drowsiness and complete necessary tasks, but the consequences of consuming caffeine must be considered.
There has been increasing evidence of the negative effects of high caffeine intake. As a result of scientific research, Caffeine has been proven to be associated with sleep problems, digestive problems and dehydration, as well as potential harm to the heart and blood vessels. Further research is currently being conducted on the subject matter, and a recent study of the effects of caffeine on rats resulted in the rats experiencing less deep sleep and issues with delayed brain growth.
So the question is: Is that paper or whatever is keeping you up really worth the potential harm to your health?
The answer is no. Caffeine consumption should be limited based on body weight and should be avoided in general as much as possible due to the serious health issues that it can inflict.