Should Student Athletes Consume Energy Drinks?

EssayArgumentative Essay

Student-athletes commonly consume energy drinks to boost their athletic performance and gain more energy for workouts, training, and competitions. There is also the fact that most energy drinks have addictive flavors and ingredients that further increase consumption regardless of a student’s physical activity. While energy drinks temporarily boost physical performance, student-athletes who consume them can suffer from various health effects that are detrimental to their well-being. Students-athletes should monitor their energy drink consumption and avoid consuming unnecessary and regular amounts.

Negative Physical Health Effects

Student-athletes who consume energy drinks regularly can develop various physical health effects from mild dehydration to serious cardiovascular issues. Student-athletes who train in hot environments, such as an enclosed gym or during an intensely hot day, can suffer from dehydration that can lead to increased heart rates and body temperature. If they consume energy drinks in this type of environment, they can enhance diuresis and increase the risk of dehydration (Alsunni, 2015). Energy drink consumption will force them to urinate more and remove fluids from their body. They may then decide to consume more energy drinks to quench their thirst which can worsen their diuresis.

Aside from the effects of dehydration, energy drink consumption can lead to serious cardiovascular complications. According to Alsunni (2015), energy drink consumption can cause increased arterial blood pressure, arrhythmia, arterial dilatation, and other significant cardiac manifestations. While these heart complications are rare in children and adolescents, there are cases where young individuals suffer from cardiovascular complications due to energy consumption, mostly because of caffeine ingredients. These included cases of atrial fibrillation in healthy 14 and 16-year-old boys and myocardial infarction in 17 and 19-year-old boys (Rocco et al., 2011, cited in Alsunni, 2015). These cases showcased the significant effects of energy drink consumption and how they can develop health complications that would otherwise be rare to young individuals, such as student-athletes.

Energy drink consumption can also lead to diabetes, obesity, gastrointestinal effects, and reduced calcium deposition. Sugar is a primary energy drink ingredient that is also present in fast foods and is responsible for the development of obesity, diabetes, and gastrointestinal effects. Therefore, consuming high amounts of energy drinks will introduce high sugar content to the body, increasing the risks of glucose-related health complications (Alsunni, 2015). Other health effects, such as reduced calcium deposition, are due to the caffeine in energy drinks. Caffeine can interfere with calcium absorption in the small intestine, leading to reduced calcium deposition (Gipp, n.d.). Student-athletes should then avoid consuming high amounts of energy drinks to prevent these health complications that can also affect their physical development, reducing their potential to become great athletes.

Negative Mental Health Effects

Negative mental health effects are other potential consequences of consuming energy drinks. Similar to the physical health effects, the caffeine content in energy drinks causes these negative effects. Caffeine, especially in large doses, can cause acute and chronic headaches, anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, feeling of exhaustion, and other caffeine intoxication symptoms (Alsunni, 2015). These mental effects can reduce the productivity and performance of student-athletes, making energy drink consumption counterproductive. Since student-athletes consume them as a way to re-energize and boost performance, some may consume more energy drinks as a way to cope with the negative effects, such as the feeling of exhaustion and anxiety. This can worsen their condition and make them ineffective during competitions.

There is also a correlation between energy drink consumption and misconduct among adolescents. Kristjansson et al. (2013) found that caffeine intake can cause the development of violent behavior and conduct disorders among children between 15 and 16-years-of-age. This suggests that student-athletes have increased risks of behavioral problems as they consume energy drinks regularly. It is noteworthy that the high school stereotype of a bully has an association with being a school jock or a member of a sports team. The correlation between violent behavior and energy drink consumption among student-athletes may shed a light on this stereotype. Therefore, student-athletes must be aware of these risks and monitor their energy drink consumption to prevent unhealthy caffeine intake.

Increased Risk of Alcohol Consumption

Lastly, energy drink consumption can be a gateway to alcohol intake. According to Gipp (n.d.), the EFSA learned that more than 50% of adolescents consume energy drinks with alcohol. Adolescents tend to use energy drinks as mixers during parties, which in addition to peer pressure, promotes the consumption of alcohol. A study also showed higher alcohol consumption intensity among student-athletes compared to non-athletes (Parisi et al., 2019). This means that student-athletes are already at risk of developing unhealthy alcohol consumption behavior regardless of their energy drink intake. If student-athletes also consume energy drinks regularly, they may develop binge drinking that would significantly affect their health.

Effects of Taurine

Despite the negative effects of energy drink consumption, there is evidence that suggests positive outcomes from consuming them. Caffeine increases alertness, energy, and attention which are positive effects. However, caffeine has various negative effects that make it impractical for regular consumption. Alternatively, there is the ingredient taurine, an amino acid that helps in tissue growth and repair. Taurine can also promote healthy metabolism, improve athletic performance, and provide protection from eye degeneration, heart complications, muscle complications, brain aging, and neurological conditions (Johnson, 2019). These effects highlight how this ingredient benefits student-athletes and their overall health. Some may even argue that these positive effects may fend off the negative effects of caffeine, such as heart and neurological complications.

However, taurine is still a substance that is under research. Despite taurine being a naturally occurring amino acid in the human body, consuming high amounts of energy drinks containing the ingredient may lead to other complications. For instance, a 23-year-old individual developed a dangerously high heart rate due to the consumption of GNC Speed Shot energy drink and Mountain Dew soft drink. According to the report, the GNC Speed Shot website warns consumers to not drink their product with other beverages that contain caffeine (cited in Paddock, 2008). The combination of the two beverages and their ingredients may have led to the increased heart rate, suggesting that while an ingredient can be beneficial, consuming it along with other ingredients may result in serious health complications. This can be detrimental for student-athletes since they are already at risk of alcoholism, increasing the substances they consume that can cause offsetting reactions to certain energy drink ingredients.


Evidence shows that energy drinks have negative effects on physical and mental health. Ingredients, especially caffeine, can cause cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, behavioral, and developmental complications in children and adolescents. However, these ingredients also have benefits, mostly energy production and boosted physical performance, making them beneficial for student-athletes. Therefore, student-athletes must educate themselves about energy drinks to learn how they can benefit them and prevent health complications due to unhealthy consumption. They must understand that relying on energy drinks to boost their athleticism is detrimental to their health while proper training and a healthy diet can provide benefits for their athletic career.

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Alsunni, A. (2015). Energy Drink Consumption: Beneficial and Adverse Health Effects. International Journal of Health Sciences, vol. 9(4). Available at Accessed: September 20, 2022.

Energy Drinks. (n.d.). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at Accessed: September 20, 2022.

Gipp, A. (n.d.). Energy Drinks and Young People. The Association of UK Dietitians. Available at,hyperactivity%20has%20also%20been%20reported . Accessed: September 20, 2022.

Johnson, J. (2019). How Does Taurine Affect the Body? Medical News Today. Available at Accessed: September 20, 2022.

Kristjansson A., Sigfusdottir I., Frost S., & James J. (2013). Adolescent Caffeine Consumption and Self-Reported Violence and Conduct Disorder. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, vol. 42(7). Accessed: September 20, 2022.

Paddock, R. (2008). Energy Drinks’ Effects on Student-Athletes and Implications for Athletic Departments. The Sport Journal. Available at Accessed: September 20, 2022.

Parisi, C., Bugbee, B., Vincent, K., Soong, A., & Arria, A. (2019). Risks Associated with Alcohol and Marijuana Use Among College Student Athletes: The Case for Involving Athletic Personnel in Prevention and Intervention. J Issues Intercoll Athl. Available at Accessed: September 21, 2022.

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