With many Ugandans, opting to consume energy drinks, ministry of health is worried that more people may present with non-communicable diseases, which remain a major health burden to the economy.
Speaking to Nile Post the Program Manager Non-Communicable Diseases in the ministry of health, Dr Gerald Mutungi, says that the side effects from uncontrolled consumption of energy drinks obviously outweigh the benefits.
According to Mutungi energy drinks contain sugars, caffeine, taurine, ginseng and various vitamins whose side effects are worrying.
“Energy drinks are not what we would call energy drinks, because they contain a stimulant which in most cases is caffeine or sugar to give you energy. If you really want to get energy, you should take the usual foods.”
“If you are taking more than two (energy drinks) a day, then you may expose yourself to the dangers of caffeine and excessive sugar. This can cause palpitations, high blood pressure and irregular heart beat,” he said.
According to Mutungi, caffeine causes diabetes too as it causes insulin sensitivity. According to other health professionals contacted, excessive consumption of energy drinks is responsible for the rise in the number of patients with acute kidney failure in the country. Acute kidney failure occurs when the kidneys suddenly lose the ability to eliminate excess salts, fluids and waste materials from the blood.
However, the energy drinks do not directly lead to acute kidney failure, they only grant the process due to excess sugars.
Statistics show that energy drinks contain between 30 and 32 grams of caffeine. Caffeine can stop the body’s ability to deal with high loads of blood sugar forcing the body to increase the amounts of insulin needed to clear the extra glucose.
Some of the prominent energy drinks on the market include; Rock Boom, Azam, Red Bull, Shark, Monster, Otop, Kabisa, Sting, Bravado, Power Horse, Working Man, Ozone, Xplosive and others.
The government of UK s proposing to ban consumption and sell of energy drinks to children amid growing concern about the impact that the high-caffeine, high-sugar drinks are having on young people’s health.
The principal justification for the ban is the high level of caffeine in the energy drinks, which has been linked to a string of health problems for children, including head and stomach aches, as well as hyperactivity and sleep problems.
A 250ml can of Red Bull contains about 80mg of caffeine, roughly the same as a similarly sized cup of coffee, but three times the level of Coca-Cola.