Month: September 2017

Energy Drinks – Not So Harmless

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The popularity of energy drinks is unfortunately on the rise among adolescents and young adults who find themselves in need of higher energy levels to handle the demands of school, work, social life, and more. In 2014, energy drink sales reached nearly $50 billion worldwide according to BeverageDaily.com.

Energy drink users may notice increased cognitive performance, enhanced mood, more physical energy, and heightened wakefulness after consuming them, although these effects are temporary.

And then there’s the bad news. There is some evidence pointing to harmful physiological and psychological effects of energy drink consumption. Caffeine mixed with other ingredients may produce symptoms such as insomnia, hyperactivity, rebound anxiety, and risk-taking behaviors. A recent randomized, controlled study in which subjects drank an energy drink or caffeinated control, both containing 320 mg of caffeine, found that ECG and blood pressure measurements were significantly worse in those consuming energy drinks.1

What Is an “Energy Drink”?

Energy drinks are non-alcoholic beverages containing B vitamins, caffeine in concentrations similar to strong coffee, a variety of herbal ingredients that can have both stimulant and anti-anxiety properties, and often large amounts of sugar. They often contain stimulants such as guarana, taurine and L-carnitine which can increase alertness, attention and energy, as well as increase blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing.

Are Energy Drinks Regulated?

In the United States, energy drink companies, at their discretion, label products as either  “beverages” or “dietary supplements.” If they choose the “beverages” designation, they are required to abide by the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 (NLEA) and label their drinks with conventional Nutrition Facts panels. However, if they designate their products as dietary supplements, they must follow the labeling requirements of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, and the requirements that go with this designation are significantly less stringent than for beverages.

As a result, most energy drink companies have classified their products as dietary supplements, which allows them to bypass the FDA’s maximum caffeine limit for beverages (51 mg per 12 ounces). This limit is less than half the amount of caffeine per ounce found in the 10 top-selling energy drinks.

What Are the Potential Problems with Energy Drinks?

Sometimes a quick boost of caffeine and sugar may seem helpful in getting through the day, but there are health risks. Adverse effects related to the intake of large amounts of caffeine include speeding heartbeat, arrhythmia, increased blood pressure, anxiety, headache, insomnia, and nausea.  Some people may consider the risks of consuming energy drinks acceptable, but the likelihood of experiencing adverse consequences increases as the quantity and frequency of energy drink consumption increases.

What Can You Do?

Decide to make better choices for yourself and your family. There are many healthy options for increasing energy levels, such as eating a healthy diet that includes omega-3 fats and minimizes sugars; getting a sufficient amount of sleep; regular exercise, and reducing emotional stress.

What Informational Resources Are Available?

Need some info to share with a friend or family member who uses energy drinks?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides an information page on energy drinks: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/nutrition/energy.htm.

The Caffeine Informer website provides a list of the top 14 dangers of energy drinks: https://www.caffeineinformer.com/top-10-energy-drink-dangers.

References

  1. Fletcher EA, Lacey CS, Aaron M, et al. Randomized controlled trial of high-volume energy drink versus caffeine consumption on ECG and hemodynamic parameters. JAHA, 2017;6:e004448.

Until next time…

Yours in health,

Dr. T

Thorburn Chiropractic and Wellness Center
A Winner of the Top Doc L.A. Award
Increasing Health & Vitality for Over 30 Years
1612 W. Burbank Blvd., Burbank, CA 91506
Phone: 818-841-1313
Fax: 818-841-3340

Be sure to follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thorburnchiropractic twitter @ThorburnChiro and also find us on Instagram at ThorburnChiro.

 

 

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What You Must Know About GMOs

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Whether we like it or not, GMOs are a part of the American dietary landscape and they are something we all need to become more informed about.  And, and it turns out, learn to avoid.

According to the Grocery Manufacturers Association, 70-80% of the food we eat in the United States, both at home and away from home, contain GMO ingredients.

A GMO is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one or more species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans.

The most common GMO foods are soy, corn, wheat, canola oil, cotton (cottonseed oil), milk (cows are given hormones to develop and produce milk faster), sugar, strawberries, aspartame, zucchini, yellow squash, and papaya.

Why GMOs? Stock answers from food manufacturers include that science is finding ways to make heartier plants that are better able to withstand pests, weeds, and weather and come to harvest in less time.  Who could argue feeding more people quicker with the ever-growing world population?  The idea that we can feed more of the world through GMOs is false because GMO crops yield less than non-GMO crops of the same food. It is interesting to note that most of the 28 European Union countries want nothing to do with GMOs.

Animal studies have shown negative effects of GMOs. Rat tests showed GMO fed offspring to be smaller and less healthy.  On a diet of GMOs, a rat’s testicles turned from red to blue. Human studies have not been done on a long term basis so we really do not know how dangerous GMOs can be.

A major GMO controversy revolves around Round Up, the herbicide produced by Monsanto. Round Up’s active ingredient is glyphosate, which when consumed, has been shown to cause nutritional deficiencies, especially minerals, and system toxicity. The World Health Organization’s cancer authority, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, has determined that glyphosate “is probably carcinogenic to humans.”

Monsanto’s first Round Up ready crop – which means the plant seeds have been engineered to stand up to Round Up exposure so that the herbicide can be used to get rid of accompanying weeds – was soy, first introduced in 1996. Current Round Up ready crops includes soy, corn, canola, alfalfa, cotton, sorghum, sugar beets, and wheat with others in development.  Round Up ready seeds are sterile so that farmers can no longer use the best seeds from a previous crop. Each year they must buy new seeds from Monsanto.

Monsanto’s genetically modified “Bt corn” has been equipped with a gene from soil bacteria called Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), which produces the Bt toxin. Bt is a pesticide that breaks open the stomach of certain insects and kills them. This GMO corn entered the food supply in the late 1990s. And the problems with Bt crops go far beyond the creation of Bt-resistant insects.

Researchers are finding that the Bt toxin can indeed wreak havoc on human health. The Bt toxin is now found in people’s bloodstreams in North America. And if it kills insects by breaking open their stomachs, how much more damage can it do to humans who regularly ingest Bt laden corn and other GMO products?

So as of today, the jury isn’t out on all the potential damage from eating a diet that contains GMO foods.

What can you safely eat if you wish to avoid GMOs? Most fresh produce, with the exception of those current GMO products listed earlier in this story, are non-GMO. Dried beans, grains, nuts, and seeds are non-GMO. However, meats, unless they are organically raised, have been fed GMO corn. So even though they are marketed as ‘natural,’ they can still contain GMOs.

The non-profit Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) was founded in 2003 by bestselling author and GMO expert Jeffrey Smith. An interesting study on the IRT website indicates that the proliferation of GMO foods and the effect of chemical residue (glyphosate) from Round Up weed killer used in growing these foods may be a major contributing factor to the now 18 million Americans with gluten sensitivity.

And our state has its own history with the GMO saga. In 2014, despite the protest of consumers across the state, California lawmakers rejected the GMO Labeling Bill. Just two years before, Monsanto – makers of Round Up and Round Up ready GMO seeds –spent $46 million to kill Proposition 37, a California ballot initiative that would have mandated GMO labeling.

So what else can you do to protect yourself and your family?

Keep current on what’s going on with GMOs by signing up for an e-newsletter from your choice of informational non-GMO websites. Cook whole organic foods at home whenever possible.  And when you go shopping, look for foods that voluntarily label that they are non-GMO.

 Until next time…

Yours in health,

Dr. T

Thorburn Chiropractic and Wellness Center
A Winner of the Top Doc L.A. Award
Increasing Health & Vitality for Over 30 Years
1612 W. Burbank Blvd., Burbank, CA 91506
http://www.ThorburnChiropractic.com
Phone: 818-841-1313
Fax: 818-841-3340