A caution has been issued for students to consider their general health and to avoid using highly caffeinated energy drinks in order to keep awake and alert during stressful periods of study, by the Rethink Sugary Drinks Alliance.
Reaching for a can of Red Bull or V to sustain a heavy study schedule, allows an intake of 21 teaspoons of sugar, and caffeine that is equal to 2.5 espresso shots. Energy drinks can have a catastrophic effect on teeth because they create an attack of acid and sugar, which causes the tooth to soften and weaken, leading to tooth cavities and erosion.
The other health concern is increasing the risk of weight gain, and heart and kidney disease, type 2 diabetes and the incidence of strokes.
Sales of energy drinks are increasing, with 34 million litres consumed in 2001, and 155 million litres consumed in 2011.
A public education campaign by the government is being called for, with restrictions on the sale of soft drinks at schools and sporting arenas, as well as consideration of a 20% tax of sugary drinks.
Recommendations for student care
- eat a health breakfast which is wholesome, such as oats, natural yoghurt, coconut milk and nuts (home made is best); or 2 eggs on toast
- look after yourself by getting some fresh air, going for a walk etc- stay hydrated with lots of water
- avoid sitting for long periods of time; be sure to have a walk around for a few minutes every couple of hours
- do regular exercise, such as a 20 minute jog, or walk, and try to get in some exercise every day
- when feeling stressed call someone who can offer you support like a friend or relative
- eat healthy snacks, like fruit, toast, nuts and natural yoghurt to give you the energy you need
- take it easy on the caffeine, one or two a day should be the maximum
- visit your dentist twice a year for dental preventive care and maintenance, or at least yearly.