Article: The Buzz With No Benefit

A recent study suggests that the consumption of energy drinks among college students may be related with poor academic performance and below-average problem-solving abilities.

Published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, a recent study authored by Joseph J. Trunzo Ph.D. and other researchers analyzed nearly 500 undergraduate college students in the United States. These researchers examined the students’ energy drink consumption, as well as social problem-solving ability and academic performance.

“Social problem-solving ability was significantly correlated with energy drink use, indicating either that better problem-solvers consume fewer energy drinks, or those who consume more energy drinks are poorer problem-solvers,” the authors wrote.

A student in his sophomore year at Tallahassee Community College, Brayan Diaz equates other popular caffeinated drinks to the well-known energy drink Redbull.

“It might make it harder to study without Redbull. I like my sleep, so without it I might just be crashing,” Diaz said. “I drink Coca-cola too and it has the same amount of caffeine in it, so it’s all the same to me. If it keeps me up, I’m good.”

While the study claims the consumers are aware of the health-risks of using such energy drinks, the authors point out that these highly-caffeinated beverages fail to produce the few perceived benefits that attract so many college students.

“These products do not seem to serve the purpose for which they are frequently used: to enhance academic performance,” the authors wrote. “In fact, it appears their use leads to the opposite of their intended effect.”

A senior at Florida State University, Patrick Murray steers away from energy drinks, feeling that they aren’t as helpful as students think they are.

“It depends on how much studying they have to do, I guess,” Murray said. “I just think it keeps you awake. I don’t think it motivates you to study.”

The authors of this study concluded that energy drinks have more damaging effects on a student’s grade point average than recreational use of common drugs like marijuana and alcohol.

“Our results actually suggest that energy drink use is the single most significant negative predictor of academic performance in the model, even beyond that of overall drug use (e.g., alcohol, marijuana, other stimulant drugs),” the authors wrote.

Victoria Rountree works at Voltage Café on the TCC campus, selling coffee, food and energy drinks to students, while she feels regretful for being hooked on energy drinks since the age of fourteen.

“I’m trying to stop drinking them because they make me feel horrible. I crash in a really bad way,” Rountree said. “My heart won’t stop pumping at a hundred miles an hour. They keep me up and about, but as soon as I don’t need that energy anymore, I can’t expel it.”

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