Yes, you can, but there are dangers in doing so.
Read on to find out why there are things you should be aware of……….
KEY SUMMARY TAKEAWAYS
✅ High quantities of caffeine and other stimulant-containing chemicals are frequently seen in most energy drinks.
✅ Experts advise against using energy drinks while pregnant since caffeine, sugar, and artificial sweeteners should be avoided at this time.
✅ Limit your maximum consumption to 400ml per day.
✅ If you are breastfeeding, be aware that the caffeine in energy drinks may contaminate your breast milk.
Energy drinks are consumed by people all over the world to improve physical performance, mental clarity, and alertness, as well as just because they enjoy the flavor. But should a pregnant woman drink energy drinks?
Due to the high caffeine level and other components, experts advise against consuming energy drinks while pregnant.
Additionally, the majority of energy drink manufacturers voluntarily add warnings to their product labels, prohibiting women who are expecting or nursing from taking them.
In this article, we’ll go through the most prevalent components of energy drinks and why you should stay away from them while pregnant.
The Health Issues
When you are pregnant, a placenta develops in your uterus and delivers food and oxygen to the unborn child through the umbilical cord. The nutrients in the food you eat, including the components in energy drinks, are passed on to your unborn child.
The effects of all the chemicals in energy drinks are unknown, despite some research having been done on substances like caffeine. It would be extremely difficult to evaluate each energy drink product individually because they all contain different cocktails of ingredients in varying amounts (not to mention difficult to test ethically).
But most experts concur that none of the different types of energy drinks are secure to consume while pregnant.
Anxiety, tissue damage, and oxidative stress (a condition in which free radicals cause cell and tissue damage) were present in newborn mice in experiments in which pregnant mice were given a tiny amount of energy drink every day during their pregnancy.
Despite the fact that the study was done on animals, the researchers came to the conclusion that drinking energy drinks while expecting or nursing could have adverse effects on people as well.
High Caffeine Levels
Any beverage with a stimulant or vitamin intended to boost energy is regarded as an energy drink by the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. They recommend avoiding energy drinks during pregnancy due to the known risks of high caffeine levels and the unknown risks of additional chemicals.
“Energy drinks are not recommended during pregnancy as they may contain high levels of caffeine, as well as other ingredients not recommended for pregnant women,” says Emily Mitchell, MS, RD, CSSD, CDE, CLT, who previously served as the Center for Fetal Medicine’s in-house dietitian and nutritionist.
“Since they are considered food supplements, energy drinks are also not subject to FDA regulation. The chemicals in supplements may not be disclosed on the label because they are not regulated.”
Research suggests that pregnant women should abstain from caffeine
Numerous research has examined the cardiovascular reactions of energy drink consumers who consume sugar-sweetened beverages. The type of energy drink and assessment methods utilized have an impact on the results of this research, which can vary.
After consuming an energy drink, certain studies have shown elevated systolic blood pressure and heart rate. More than 50% of case reports involving negative health outcomes associated with energy drinks were found to be connected to cardiovascular reactions in a 2015 assessment of the subject.
Although pregnant women were not included in the experiments, cardiovascular responses are unsettling during pregnancy; therefore, it is advisable to avoid stimulants like energy drinks when expecting.
Sports drinks vs. Energizing beverages
Sports drinks and energy drinks are frequently displayed close to one another in grocery and convenience stores. It’s crucial, though, to distinguish between sports drinks and energy drinks. Always read the labels on all beverages before consuming them to be label savvy.
Which Ingredients Are Questionable?
Depending on the producer, different components are used in energy drinks. Many energy drinks also have a blend of substances that gives them energy. The difficulty in identifying which chemicals in these mixtures may result in undesirable side effects is a concern.
Therefore, even when not pregnant, it is crucial to carefully read labels.
The amount of caffeine in energy drinks during pregnancy is one of the key issues. A 16-ounce energy drink, for instance, can have between 70 and 240 milligrams of caffeine in it. Comparatively, a 6-ounce cup of coffee has roughly 100 mg of caffeine in it, whereas a 12-ounce can of cola has about 35 mg.
Condensed versions of energy drinks known as “shots” are offered in 2- to 2.5-ounce bottles. Every shot contains 113 to 200 mg of caffeine, which makes up the majority of the ingredients. Seizures, insanity, and cardiac arrhythmias may result from a caffeine overdose (irregular heartbeat).
“Caffeine overuse can cause blood pressure and heart rate to increase. It has an impact on the nervous system and may result in agitation, anxiety, and lack of sleep “Mitchell says. Limiting caffeine consumption is advised because the evidence is inconclusive.
During pregnancy, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) advises keeping caffeine intake to 200 mg or less per day. About 12 ounces of freshly brewed coffee would be equal.
Energy drinks differ from items that contain pure or highly concentrated caffeine. They are available in liquid or powder form, and when used improperly, they can be dangerous and even fatal.
Non-nutritive sweeteners are an ingredient in several energy drinks. Artificial sweeteners are calorie-free or calorie-reduced substitutes for nutritive sweeteners like table sugar. They contribute sweetness without adding fat or sugar.
The following non-nutritive sweeteners are permitted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
- Acesulfame K (brand names include Sunett and Sweet One)
- Aspartame (brand names include NutraSweet and Equal)
- Neetame (brand name Newtame)
- Saccharin is a sugar substitute (brand name Sweet and Low)
- Sucralose (brand name Splenda)
- Stevia (brand names include Truvia and Pure Via)
The majority of artificial sweeteners, with the exception of saccharin, are deemed safe in moderation during pregnancy by doctors. This is because saccharin crosses the placenta and is carcinogenic, meaning it may cause cancer.
Comprehensive List of Things to Avoid During Pregnancy.
If artificial sweeteners aren’t used, sugar is used in energy drinks. Excessive weight gain might be a result of eating too much sugar. Additionally, too much sugar can be an issue for people who have gestational diabetes, a condition that calls for careful monitoring of carbohydrate consumption and restriction of simple carbohydrates to avoid significant changes in blood sugar levels.
There is taurine in several energy drinks. The development of the nervous system is aided by this crucial amino acid, which is naturally present in meals derived from animals (such as meat and dairy).
Although taurine is safe when eaten in foods that naturally contain it, little is known regarding the consequences of taking taurine supplements or mixing it with energy drinks while pregnant.
However, supplementing with a single amino acid, like taurine, can impact your metabolism and strain your kidneys, so it’s better to avoid taurine during pregnancy.
Asian herbal supplement ginseng has been used for a very long time. Although there is no information on its long-term safety, some animal studies suggest that it might lead to birth abnormalities.
Among ginseng‘s negative effects are:
- Loss of appetite
- Variations in blood pressure
- Breast discomfort
- Constipation symptoms
- Faster heart rate
- Menstrual issues
Because of this, specialists advise against taking ginseng by women who are expecting or nursing.
From gluconic acid, glucuronolactone is produced. It is largely used in food manufacturing as a pickling, leavening, and curing agent. When used as intended and at dosages that adhere to acceptable manufacturing procedures, the FDA deems it generally recognized as safe.
There are few studies on humans, however, research on rats has revealed that common dietary additives in energy drinks, such as glucuronolactone, can be hazardous. It is generally advisable to avoid it while pregnant because it has not been thoroughly examined during this time.
Caffeine derived from plants can be found in guarana. Guarana plants have four times as much caffeine as coffee beans do. Due to its stimulating properties, it is frequently included in energy drinks. Pregnant women should refrain from drinking guarana due to its strong caffeine content.
This herb has been used for generations in China and is made from the ginkgo tree leaves. There are others who assert that it can enhance memory, however, research has not supported these claims. Adverse effects consist of:
- Skin rashes caused by allergies
- Digestive discomfort
It is wise to stay away from this substance because there are few prenatal studies available.
L-carnitine is generated from an amino acid and is involved in the synthesis of energy. In order to enhance athletic performance, it is frequently added to energy drinks, despite the fact that the majority of researchers have found no difference in this regard.
The following negative consequences may occur if you consume more than 3 grams daily:
- Lower Back Pain
- Body odor that smells “fishy”
People with existing problems may have muscle weakness and seizures less frequently. As with any dietary supplement, consult your doctor before using L-carnitine, especially if you are expecting it.
The bark of an African native evergreen tree is where Yohimbe is derived from. It is frequently found in energy drinks and weight loss products. There isn’t enough evidence to back up the claims made by supporters that it can improve athletic performance.
Yohimbe has been linked to heart attacks and seizures. Yohimbe may also induce the following conditions in addition to these serious side effects:
- High blood pressure
- Digestive issues
- Tachycardia (rapid heart rate)
It is advisable to avoid taking it when pregnant since it may not be safe.
Your body needs B vitamins to use the energy from food. But the number of B vitamins utilized in energy drinks might go over the advised daily limits. Additionally, there isn’t enough evidence to back up manufacturers’ claims that vitamins improve performance.
It’s water soluble for B vitamins. It follows that if you consume too much, you will pass it into your urine. However, taking excessive amounts of B vitamins can have negative side effects. They comprise:
- Washing (burning, itching, redness on the face, arms, and chest)
- Rapid heartbeat
- Nerve injury
- A higher risk of hip fractures in older people
It is better to avoid energy drinks during pregnancy because they may contain higher levels of B vitamins than is advised.
A universal blend does not exist.
Energy drinks don’t all have the same components or are made equally. Understanding the effects of energy drinks as a group may be more challenging as a result of these variations.
A can of standard Red Bull, for instance, has caffeine, taurine, sugar, and B vitamins, whereas a can of Monster contains ginseng, carnitine, glucose, taurine, caffeine, guarana, inositol, glucuronolactone, and maltodextrin.
There is no way to predict the outcomes of the numerous ingredient combinations and serving quantities, which also vary by brand. Additionally, it is unclear what these ingredients or mixtures of ingredients can do to a pregnant body or fetus because supplements, like herbal blends, are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Can I drink them while I’m Breastfeeding?
When sleep habits are interrupted, as they frequently are throughout the early stages of infancy and motherhood, it may be tempting to drink an energy drink to boost energy and alertness. However, if you are breastfeeding, be aware that the caffeine in energy drinks may contaminate your breast milk.
The caffeine in breast milk can cause certain newborns who are caffeine sensitive to become agitated and have sleep difficulties. Two to three cups of coffee, or 200 to 300 mg, of caffeine per day, is the maximum amount that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises during breastfeeding.
Energy drinks also frequently include other herbal ingredients, which could interact with the caffeine and other supplements you take, like vitamins. When you are expecting or nursing, it’s crucial to read labels carefully and talk about your diet with a healthcare professional.