Warning: Energy drinks are dangerous to your health!


A study last year showed that energy drinks can change heart rhythms. A team of researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany scanned the hearts of 17 people an hour after they’d consumed an energy drink. They found the left ventricle of the heart, which pumps blood around the body, was contracting harder after the drink. Frane’s public health agency has said young people who drink energy drinks are at risk of sleep disorders, daytime drowsiness and developing addiction to other substances.

“A third of young people who consume energy drinks say they’ve mixed them with alcohol. The caffeine makes the person feel less drunk, so they are less likely to stop, and end up drinking even more,’’ observes Andrew Brown of Mentor, a drug and alcohol prevention charity for children and young people. ‘’Energy drinks can have different effects on different people. We know three out of five teenagers are drinking them with sport even though this is not recommended and not necessary.”

Hence the warning: ‘Because of their composition, these beverages have a stimulating effect which, when associated with certain other behaviours (alcohol consumption, sports, etc), can give rise to serious cardiac accidents in consumers with common genetic predispositions which frequently go undiagnosed. It is therefore recommended that avoiding the consumption of so-called energy drinks in association with alcohol or during physical exercise should be encouraged.

In 2008, 21-year-old Chioe Leach in East Yorkshire, collapsed and died after drinking Red Bull and a cocktail containing vodka and caffeine at a student party. A post-motem examination found that Chloe probably had an undiagnosed heart condition, and the caffeine she consumed may have triggered faulty electrical activity in her heart. The same year, 14-year-old Naomi Haynes was hospitalised after her energy drink habit reached 50 cans a week. Doctors warned her that her consumption of the drinks was putting her at a risk of a heart attack. Recently, 19-year-old Joshua Merrick died after downing a high-caffeine drink.

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Meanwhile, in the U.S, the Food and Drug Administration is said to be investigating a number of deaths and hospitalisations linked to energy drinks. Two mothers are suing the manufacturer of Monster over the deaths of their children from heart attacks. The drinks have also been linked to emotional problems and suicide. Aside from the worries over caffeine energy drinks are extremely high in sugar: one 250ml can of Red Bull contains five-and – a half cubes, for example. Given the growing body of evidence that implicates sugar in a host of health problems, this is fuelling calls for the drinks to be more strongly regulated. With many children drinking several energy drinks a day, there are also concerns over addiction.

Caffeine on its own is not addictive, but it does create dependency, says Peter Rogers, professor of biological psychology at Bristol University and a leading expert on caffeine. According to him: ‘’Caffeine creates a state of dependency where if one stops taking it, one feels tired, fatigued, headachy and studies show this happens in children as well. Louise Van de Valde believes her son, Jordan, developed an unhealthy relationship with Red Bull at the age of 14.

She said: “I didn’t realise at first that he was drinking it. Then, when I did find out, he’d sneak cans into his room or have them at school.’ But Louise noticed the drinks were causing her son to suffer from highs and lows. ‘’He was really moody and never slept well – he’d be up till 4.00am playing computer games. I kept telling him that he felt tired because of those drinks, and I banned them, but it didn’t make any difference. In the end, he got so stressed out and irritable that he realised he had to stop them. He did it gradually and did complain of tiredness for a while, but now he’s fine and back to normal.’’

The British Soft Drinks Association says high-caffeine energy drinks are not recommended in the UK for consumption by children, and its code of practice states that products containing more than 150mg caffeine per litre must carry the warning: ‘Not suitable for children, pregnant women and persons sensitive to caffeine.’ But experts feel this does not go far enough. ‘’The marketing of these drinks is very attractive to young people,’ says Andrew Brown. ‘’Brands associate themselves with cool stuff like extreme sports. These are available next to soft drinks and many children don’t really understand what the active ingredient is.”

How To Store, Serve And Preserve Left-Over Wines

Now, you’ve got an impressive array of wines this festive period ,do you know how to store them?

Experts advise you keep unopened wine in a cool, dark place, and store bottles on their sides to keep the corks moist. Dried corks shrink easily and allow air to seep into the wine. White wines may also be stored in the refrigerator, though it isn’t necessary. You can simply chill the wine in the fridge two hours before serving.

If you have left-over wine after it’s been opened, replace the cork and place the bottle in the fridge. It should keep for three to five days. If you prefer to drink red wine at a warmer temperature, remove it from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature until it warms to your liking. Left-over wine can be used within three to five days after it has been opened.

How to serve wine: White wine is generally best served between 45o F and 55oF, so keep it in the fridge. If it’s too cool for your taste, let it sit on a counter top for about 15 minutes before drinking. Red wine is generally best served between 32oF and 35oF.

If the cork breaks in half while you’re opening the bottle, gently screw the corkscrew into it and pull it out. If the cork shatters, push it into the bottle, then pour the whine through a cheesecloth or coffee filter into glasses or another container to strain out the pieces. Are you familiar with the vino lingo? ‘’Sweet: ‘’Dry’’’, ‘’oakey’’-what does it all means? Aroma vs ….Bouquet: Aroma is the smell of a young wine. Bouquet refers to the aroma a wine takes on after it has aged in the bottle. Body; the weight of wine in the mouth. Wines are usually described as being either light, medium or full bodies.

Dry: A descriptive terms for wine with no perceptible sugar content.

Finish: The final after-taste of a wine, very good wines tend to have relatively long finishes.

Sweet: A description term for wine with some amount of sugar.

Noise: A wine term synonymous with aroma (e.g. you might say,”’’The nose of this wine reminds me of cherries’’). Oakey, a descriptive term for a wine that has a pronounced oak flavour, generally as a result of aging the wine in new, small oak barrels. Chardonnay is often oakey.

Tanning: A group of beneficial compounds in wine that come mainly from the grape’s skins and seed. Tanning gives wine structure and, because it acts as a natural preservative allow wine to age.

How to Serve Your Wine: If you had unlimited space and an unlimited budget, you could buy a different glass for practically every type of wine. But for the rest of us, here’s a simple guide to glassware.

Red Wine: Choose a glass with a broader bowl. This allows you to enjoy more of the bouquet of red wines. Vanguard