Caffeine is proven to enhance athletic performance yet it’s unregulated in high school, professional, and Olympic sports. That’s one major reason the energy drink industry has surged.But the high caffeine content of most energy drinks has proven dangerous, according to an ESPN investigation.
While the FDA limits caffeine in soft drinks, it does not regulate energy drinks. In turn, energy drinks push the caffeine envelope in an effort to gain marketshare. Many drinks contain eight times as much caffeine as a 12-ounce can of Coke. And that can pay off for athletes.
A study conducted by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition proved caffeine enhances athletic performance – reaction time and endurance, in particular.
Yet caffeine’s benefits come with dangerous consequences. One high school athlete downed two energy drinks before a football game – not uncommon in his locker room – and suffered a seizure that nearly lead to his death.
The substance’s wide-ranging effects on various people make it especially difficult for regulators to control. While some advocate the drug’s benefits, others want it banned in sports, or at least limited for minors.
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