In the satirical film “Idiocracy,” an energy drink called “Brawndo, the Thirst Mutilator,” has completely replaced water, which is used only to flush toilets.
But then, it's a world in which everyone is living “la vida idioca.”
In the U.S., too, a lot of people are drinking juiced-up, sweetened (or artificially sweetened) energy drinks.
A new study in the Journal of the American Heart Association reveals that about 30% of kids ages 12 to 17 drink energy drinks regularly, and almost 45% of our military personnel drink at least one a day — 14% drink three or more.
And the truth is that all that “energy” is bad for the heart.
The study found that people drinking 32 ounces of caffeinated energy drinks experienced sustained spikes in blood pressure and a change in their so-called QT interval (the time between heart beats), which can trigger life-threatening arrhythmias.
But the researchers say the caffeine in the drinks isn't to blame for cardio changes. A serving of 32 ounces contains less than the 400 mg that might trigger such problems.
Rather, heart issues occur because the drinks contain ingredients that haven't been properly investigated, such as taurine (an amino acid) and glucuronolactone (a naturally occurring byproduct of glucose breakdown).
Want a better beverage to boost your energy? Try green tea. While it has some caffeine, green tea also contains L-theanine, an amino acid that may have anti-anxiety effects.
Studies suggest that L-theanine and caffeine together could also improve brain function. And that will defeat idiocracy.