Despite health claims, energy and sports drinks are unhealthy, study says

U.C. Berkeley researchers concluded that despite claims of health benefits and performance enhancement, popular energy and sports drinks like Monster, Red Bull and even Gatorade are putting health at risk.
U.C. Berkeley researchers concluded that despite claims of health benefits and performance enhancement, popular energy and sports drinks like Monster, Red Bull and even Gatorade are putting health at risk. Tim Boyle/Getty Images

A new study has concluded that popular sports, energy and fruit drinks marketed as healthy more often put people’s health at risk.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley looked at the ingredients in energy drinks like Monster and Red Bull, sports drinks like Gatorade and flavored waters like Vitamin Water.
 
While ads often suggest the drinks enhance energy, performance and health, the researchers said that in fact, they may be having the opposite effect, such as contributing to childhood obesity, and in some cases increasing stress, anxiety and insomnia.

"It appears that the marketing of fortified beverages as beneficial or health-enhancing is premature at best and deceptive at worst," the authors wrote.

Energy drinks like Monster contain large amounts of sugar and caffeine, along with other additives that the researchers said may be interacting with caffeine in unsafe ways.
 
And they wrote that even sports drinks like Gatorade can be a problem. They’re meant to replace electrolytes during vigorous exercise, but the study noted that many children who drink them are sedentary, taking in calories they don’t need, when just plain water would do.

The full study is available here.

 

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