I am sure that some of you have read many posts or articles that show studies that either claim drinking energy drinks are safe or dangerous. Some studies say that drinking energy drinks is safe if you were exercising or making an effort. I do not consider to myself to be addicted to energy drinks. However, many of my friends are addicted to energy drinks and when I tell that it could be dangerous to their health, they claim that it is just a “normal nutrition’” that is put all together in a bottle. So, I decided to do a research about it to test the claim that energy drinks do no harm to our body.
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The null hypothesis: energy drinks do nothing harmful to our body
The alternative hypothesis: energy drinks do harm to our body.
Hypothesized causation: energy drinks cause health issues.
Reverse causation could be that people who suffer from health issues drink a lot of energy drinks.
While I was searching in Google, I found a recent study that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that says that energy drinks are harmful to our body and could cause serious heart issues. The article that showed the study was well-organized and detailed and has included all results and the way the experiment was done, which means that the study results do not suffer from the File Drawer Problem.
The researchers said that they used a commercial energy drink and a placebo drink for the participants as an independent (x) variable and suggested that the response (y) variable is the change in blood pressure, heart rate and mental and physical stress as hard points. They also measured soft point that could be associated with changes in the heart rate such as an increase in the cardiovascular risk. The researchers claim that they conducted a randomized double blind placebo control trial and that all the participants in the study were healthy adults.
The study showed that the Caffeine levels had significantly increased when participants drank energy drinks. On the other hand, the Caffeine levels for the participants who drank the placebo drink did not change. Additionally, the researchers did not notice any changes in heart rate on both groups. The researchers had also noticed that the blood pressure has gone up.
The research has studied 25 participants who were randomly selected and were all healthy. Not to mention that the study was experimental and the researchers had used a placebo drink, in which they made sure that it will not have any effect on the body by measuring the difference responses on each group when they drank the placebo drink. That being said, many third variable could be ruled out such as the difference in the effects that could result from differences in ages, or even health issues that could, for example, affect heart rate and the amount of energy drink one drinks.
In addition, I think that the study was well-conducted and could thus rule out reverse causation. However, as we learned in class, we need to be skeptical no matter how well the study is conducted or how strong the evidence is the results could still be due to chance. Not to mention that the sample size in the study was too small and that there was only one energy drink tested in the study, which could increase the probability that the study results are false positive.
Furthermore, the study might suffer from the Texas Shooter Problem because of the many hard and soft points measured in the study such as Physical stress and mental stress/ Not only does the study measure many things, it also uses method that may have a big chance of resulting in inaccurate results. For example, the study measures mental stress by asking participants to do mathematical tasks in a certain period of time. This could cause a variation in the results because of mathematical skills vary from one to another, especially, if the participants varied between educated and uneducated. An educated person, especially one whose major involves mathematics, might do, for example, three mathematical tasks in one minute, while an uneducated person might do them in three minutes.
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Moreover, the alpha value chosen in the study= 0.05, the p-value in the study’s results=0.003. And because the difference between alpha and the p-value is significant and the p-value is smaller than alpha, we will reject the null hypothesis and say that energy drinks are harmful to our body. However, the conclusion is based on only one study, so I still need to do further research.
Overall, the study was well-conducted and has ruled out any possible misinterpretations for the study’s results that could result from observational studies or inaccurate results from experiments that are poorly conducted. In addition, the probability that the study results were type 1 error (false positive) was relatively small and thus can be trusted. I think that the study results are convincing. Also, I found two meta-analysis studies (study1, study2 ) that studied more than one energy drink, such as Red Bull and Rockstar and also well-done experiments, and used big sample sizes and have showed that drinking energy drinks can cause an increase in heart rate and caffeine in your body.
Bottom Line: many meta-analysis studies that were done on the danger of energy drinks say that energy drinks are harmful to our body, as they significantly increase levels of caffeine in the body, which can result in serious health. According to an article in Mayo Clinic, having high amounts of caffeine in your body can cause health issues like insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, and stomach upset. I am convinced that energy drinks are harmful to my body and I would personally try to drink less coffee and energy drinks in my every-day life; however, because the study did not show any serious heart diseases that could results from drinking a small amount of energy drinks, I would still drink energy drink when I am doing an exam in order to focus and do well on the exam, as I feel that energy drinks and coffee help me pay better attention to the task I am doing than when I do not drink them.