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Energy Drinks: Just The Facts

Get the facts on high-caffeine, high sugar energy drinks

These drinks are very popular with young people, but how healthy are they?

Energy drinks contain high levels of caffeine and sugar (in non-diet varieties), which can lead to health problems including:

  • Feeling sick- being sick, stomach aches and diarrhoea
  • Anxiety- panic attacks, feeling your heart pounding or having an irregular heartbeat
  • Headaches and lack of concentration
  • Affecting your mood – they may make you feel happy for a while and then you may feel really sad
  • Not being able to get enough sleep (insomnia)
  • Tooth decay
  • Increase in weight
  • Can become dependent on the caffeine or other substances
  • Very occasionally, death. This has happened to young people with heart conditions, some of which can be undetected and those who have had too much caffeine

In 2018, a number of major supermarkets banned the sale of energy drinks to under 16’s in the UK, and the government is looking at this becoming law.

Did you know?

Energy drinks that are high in caffeine have to be labelled ‘high caffeine’ and state that they are not suitable for young people.

Need an alternative?

  • Getting enough sleep is important. Take a look at our advice on getting to sleep for more information if you are struggling.
  • Eat a balanced diet- eating healthy, regular meals will give you energy. Take a look our advice on healthy eating for for more help and advice
  • Exercise – when you feel like you have no energy, a quick HIIT workout, walk or run can make a big difference. Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier to give you a boost in the morning
  • Water – lack of water can make you feel tired and low in energy, so make sure you drink at least two litres of water a day
  • If all of the above doesn’t help, try a cold shower to wake you up in the morning.
  • Planning – if you are trying to stay awake to revise the night before an exam, you probably won’t be able to concentrate and remember the information. Instead, make sure you plan revision and don’t leave it all until the night before

How to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your school nurse.

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