SPORTS OPINION | Excessive use of energy drinks can harm athletes

In many advertisements, professional athletes chug energy drinks before winning a race. Companies like Red Bull use athletes to promote their products, claiming their drinks can boost physical performance and leading audiences to think consuming caffeine excessively will help them before a game or meet.

However, energy drinks aren’t a healthy substitute when you are low on energy. Especially with the effects of elevated heart rates, consuming large amounts of caffeine among other ingredients can have negative consequences.

The bottom line is energy drinks are not healthy or good for you. When younger athletes are introduced to energy drinks, they will continue to use them at all competitive levels. They can rely on the energy drink to perform well and might drink one before every race.

Energy drinks can become addictive, and many athletes can get to the point where they rely on the drinks to get through a game. Healthline points out the potential side effects that occur from drinking energy drinks and specifically Red Bull:

“Frequent and excess intake may have serious and possibly life-threatening side effects. Blood pressure and heart rate are two important measures for heart health, as increased levels have been associated with a higher risk of hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart disease.”

Along with increasing your heart rate, energy drinks can increase blood pressure and can affect kidney health. It would take a large consumption to result in a life-threatening issue such as a caffeine overdose, but this situation isn’t to be taken lightly.

Athletes don’t need an extra energy boost to be great. They shouldn’t have the mindset that they need an energy drink to keep up and excel in their sport.

As a former athlete, I was never interested in energy drinks. Many of my friends and teammates would drink Red Bull or Monster, but I never liked to think about what would happen if I consumed one. I didn’t need the extra energy to be a good athlete.

Consuming caffeine is not bad, we need energy, but consuming an excessive amount is where we are negatively affected. It’s like any other substance use: the more you decide to drink energy drinks, the more you rely on them to give you what you need to perform well.

Although everyone should think twice before consuming energy drinks, athletes especially should know that they don’t have to drink them because they think it’s the only way to become successful and improve their game.

Athletes have far more potential and can compete at any level to the best of their ability without an excessive amount of caffeine.

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