Lifewatch: Energy Drinks

WILMINGTON --  As you reach for a cup of coffee to jump start your day, your kids may be chugging Red Bull, Jolt, or Adrenaline Rush.  But what can energy drinks do to young bodies?

Energy drinks are full of sugar and caffeine so they are not healthier than a sugary soda.

"Certainly caffeine increases your alertness, makes you awake, less sleepy. you can actually even perform better on several different kinds of tests because of your increased alertness," said Dr. Sam Klein, a nutrition researcher at Washington University Med School.

Just like coffee, energy drinks can keep you awake.  But that's not always a good thing.

Some people don't even feel energetic after drinking these.  The jolt from the increased caffeine and sugar is temporary.

"When it decreases in your bloodstream you may actually have a rebound and be more lethargic and more sleepy than before hand," said Dr. Klein.

That's why some coaches don't like their athletes drinking energy drinks.

Most energy drinks don't have as much caffeine as a strong cup of coffee, but they do have a lot of sugar.

But like coffee, you can get addicted to energy drinks in the sense that you need the jolt to get going in the morning or even suffer withdrawal headaches.

More severe symptoms are possible, but are rare.

"Certainly taking too much caffeine, too much of a stimulant can cause heart arrhythmias, increased heart rate," said Dr. Klein.

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Reported by Kristy Ondo