12 Harmful Ingredients in Power Drinks, Colas and Artificial Juice Drinks

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Have you been hooked to softdrinks and similar instant drinks to satiate your thirst? Watch out for the 12 harmful ingredients in power drinks, colas, and artificial juice drinks. Always read those labels before you take any of those manufactured drinks.

Sometimes people just take for granted what they put into their mouth and what they drink to push it down. A diet-conscious individual can easily see what food he/she consumes but not the ingredients in what they drink. 

Do people really consume health drinks as those attractive advertisements flaunt they are? Say, high fiber, high Vitamin C content? Are there really health benefits derived from these drinks? How about the additives or preservatives? They don't include that in the front labels!

Here are facts about the typical ingredients of power drinks, colas or juice drinks usually placing 100% Vitamin C in their labels to lure customers. Under each ingredient, corresponding descriptions on their effects to individuals consuming them are provided. This list is not exhaustive. There are other ingredients which may pose serious health concerns. You can find these ingredients in the labels of so-called health drinks, normally just below the nutrition facts.

1. Sugar and/or high fructose in corn syrup

In the last decade or so, the consumption of fructose such as those derived from softdrinks or juice drinks has been linked to a rise in obesity and metabolic disorders. In laboratory experiments, scientists found out that fructose stimulates fat production that leads to insulin resistance in the liver and other organs, abnormal concentrations of fats in the blood and high blood pressure (Le KA, 2006). This suggests that it is possible that too much consumption of high sugar foods can lead to a high concentration of fats in the blood thus raise blood pressure.

2. Citric acid

The Academy of General Dentistry cautions cola and commercial juice drinkers that many of the beverages today have very high acidity. Very high acidity from citric acid in drinks can destroy the hard enamel of the teeth that will lead to tooth decay and eventual loss. 

3. Vitamin C

Although drinks with Vitamin C are purported by advertisers to have some health benefits, in reality these are not natural. Synthetic Vitamin C can cause kidney stones, gout, arthritis and ulcers, and can even cause heart disease.  Natural Vitamin C in fruits and vegetables are much better because these do not have detrimental side-effects. 

4. Artificial flavors and/or sodium benzoate

Dr. Jim Stevenson and his team from the University of Southampton, United Kingdom determined that artificial colors and/or sodium benzoate increased levels of hyperactivity in preschool aged and 8-9 year old children within the general population. This means that children's behavior is influenced by their fancy of colorful and sweet, junk foods.

5. Tartrazine

Tartrazine is used to provide color to drinks. Studies show that it can cause asthma, migraines, hyperactivity and skin rashes. It has also been found to cause a deficiency in other vitamins and minerals. New research indicates that it may play a role in heart disease

6. Flavorants

Flavorants are usually not specifically indicated. Flavorants may contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), a controversial substance which has many side effects among which is its toxicity. There is still an on-going debate regarding its safety as a flavor enhancer. But this author notes that in his place, it is common practice to get rid of feral dogs with meat containing a lot of MSG. This effectively poisons them.

7. Sodium Saccharin

Studies showed clearly that sodium saccharin can contribute to bladder cancer and tumours in the urinary tract.  

8. Sodium Cyclamate

Sodium cyclamate is considered to be carcinogenic and has similar effects to saccharin.

9. Sorbic Acid

High levels of sorbic acid can irritate the nose, eyes and throat.

10. Benzoic Acid

Benzoic acid is a preservative that causes allergies and intolerances. This results to asthma, itchy skin eruptions and hyperactivity.

11. Sodium Hexametaphosphate

Sodium hexametaphosphate can lead to a loss of calcium and cause kidney damage.

12. Potassium Benzoate

Potassium benzoate can trigger asthma, itchy skin eruptions and hyperactivity just like benzoic acid.

Pixabay / Alexas_Fotos

Energy Drinks

13. High Amount of Certain Vitamin B's

Power drinks or more commonly called, energy drinks also have a very high amount of vitamin B6 and B3 (niacin). Vitamin B6 and B3 are healthy and you most likely get enough in your daily diet and or multi-vitamin each day, but these unhealthy amounts of B6 and B3 cause issues like skin conditions, gastrointestinal problems, liver toxicity, blurred vision and nerve damage.

14. Gingko Biloba, Ginseng and Guarana

These three ingredients can be fine when taken separately, but when combined with the other ingredients like sugar, caffeine and the B vitamins can become a deadly mix. They can cause high blood pressure, heart palpitations, headaches, insomnia, swelling, fatigue, dehydration and kidney failure. There have been recent reports of teenagers dying from drinking too many energy drinks during a day.

15. Caffeine

Some energy drinks contains far more than an average cup of coffee. Too much caffeine can cause heart palpitations, dizziness, irritability, nausea, dehydration, and headaches.

16. Taurine

Taurine is another ingredient in many energy and power drinks. Taurine is an amino acid and too much of it can cause dangerously low blood pressure. Not much is known about the long term effects of Taurine and mixed with everything else in energy drinks, it could be unhealthy.

So good, old, simple water is the best drink plus it is refreshing and is healthy for the entire body. The Fiji Water brand of bottled water is excellent as it has a good amount of electrolytes and silica and is alkaline.

But avoid distilled ones because bottled distilled water has an acid pH. High ph results to a loss of alkaline minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, distilled water is essentially mineral free so it dissolves substances with which it comes into contact. Trace minerals found in plain water are important in regulating heart beat and normalizing blood pressure.


Academy of General Dentistry, 2007. Soda Attack: Soft Drinks, Especially Non-colas and Iced Tea, Hurt Hard Enamel. Retrieved on April 15, 2010 at http://www.agd.org/public/oralhealth/Default.asp?IssID=315&Topic=N&ArtID=1276

Le KA, T., 2006. Metabolic effects of fructose. Retrieved on April 15, 2010 at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16778579.

Mary-Ann Shearer and The Shearer Family Trust, 2007. Sports drinks. Retrieved on April 16, 2010 at http://www.mary-anns.com/sports_drinks.html.


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