A construction industry boss has called for a building site ban on energy drinks, but what do they actually do to the body?
Paul Breen, who trains up to 500 young tradespeople in western Sydney each year, told Daily Mail Australia the sugary, caffeinated drinks are damaging the health of young tradies and making work slower.
Newbies are arriving on work sites with the habit of consuming several energy drinks a day to make up for lack of sleep and poor physical condition.
This new infographic by Peronalise.co.uk looks at what happens to your body after drinking an energy drink
Paul Breen trains hundreds of young tradies a year and regularly advises them on the benefits of eating healthier food. Pictured: Some of the young tradespeople taking part in his training course. Daily Mail is not suggesting the group above is addicted to energy drinks
After drinking up to six cans a day for seven months, English student Vinny Pyner, 21, began to have tooth pain. He hid his teeth from his mother, until the front four teeth snapped when he bit into an apple
Mr Breen reckons around ’50 per cent’ of the young tradies he trains have an energy drink habit.
His call-out to the industry was met with support by health professionals and from family members and partners of tradies but predictably a mixed response from people who rely on them.
‘Frickin finally,’ one boss said. ‘Imagine trying to enforce that?’ said a Tamworth auto electrician.
‘Good luck enforcing that, plenty of employers having their teeth knocked out,’ said a Melbourne man.
‘What people eat and drink is their business,’ said one woman.
But relying on the drinks often means the tradies have concentration problems and a crash in energy levels once the effects of the drinks wear off – as quickly as one hour later.
Leading nutritionist Leanne Elliston says tradies and anyone relying on energy drinks should limit it to just one and eat fruit or a nut-based cereal bar for energy
Leading construction trainer Paul Breen has called for energy drinks to be banned from Australian building sites because tradies consume so many of the unhealthy beverages that their work and health is suffering. Electrical apprentice Matt Glass (above) gave up energy drinks after doing Mr Breen’s training and completing his own research
Multiple studies have linked sugary energy drinks to prostate, breast and colorectal cancer, kidney problems, obesity and mental health issues including increased anxiety, depression and problems concentrating.
The Australian Dental Association also told Daily Mail Australia that it believes energy drink consumption is contributing to more and more young people losing their teeth – some as teenagers.
Mr Breen tries to educate the young tradies in good nutrition so they have energy all day long. He said trainees are willing to change their bad habits when shown what works better.
Leanne Elliston from Nutrition Australia said if possible tradies – and the many other workers who rely on energy drinks in the morning, such as people in transport, factory work and warehousing, should plan out their meals.
‘A better option is to plan food intake over the day and start with a decent breakfast, that’ll give you more energy – yes, actually eating something.
‘Allowing yourself some time to eat some porridge or cereal or eggs.’
If there’s no time, she suggests ‘nut-based cereal bars or a piece of fruit, or those squishy packs of low sugar yoghurt.’
‘If you do choose energy drinks, know your limits.. have one but don’t go back for more.’
Ms Elliston said a workplace culture of using relying on energy drinks doesn’t help people maintain good health.
Dentist Dr Kaejenn Tchia (pictured) said in extreme cases teenagers are losing their teeth partly due to energy drinks
In 2019 an English 21-year-old, Vinny Pyner, got hooked on the drink to help him stay awake for his college studies and ended up snapping his weakened teeth.
Soon he was drinking up to 45 cans a week and his mother, Tara, 46, became concerned about his addiction.
Newbies are arriving on work sites with the habit of consuming several energy drinks a day to make up for lack of sleep and poor physical condition
His front four teeth eventually snapped when he bit into an apple after seven months of guzzling the drink at every meal.
Health experts have been calling for people to consume less of the sugary, caffeinated drinks for decades now, but if anything servos stock more cans and more brands than ever.
Electrical apprentice Matt Glass told Daily Mail Australia the drinks are so cheap that his workmates have ‘two for breakfast and two for lunch’ each day.
Here, in a step-by-step guide, we describe what happens 10 minutes, two hours, and even 12 days after you finish a can.
The data, from gift site Personalise, offered an alarming insight into the science of the drink.
Studies have also claimed Red Bull and liquor cocktails have the same effect as cocaine on a teenager’s brain.
Just as with the Class A drug, the cocktail can have a devastating affect on the chemical balance of the brain that lasts long into adulthood.
This is a taste of the effect it has on the body in the first 12 days of finishing a can:
FIRST 10 MINUTES AFTER FINISHING A CAN
The caffeine begins to permeate your bloodstream.
In turn, your heart rate and blood pressure start to pick up pace.
15-45 MINUTES LATER
If you drink it fast, you’ll start feeling more alert and concentrated around 15 minutes later. Slow drinkers may not feel the effects for about 40 minutes.
30-50 MINUTES LATER
Caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, as a response your livers dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. The adenosine receptors in your brain are now blocked preventing drowsiness.
Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can get its hands on into fat – of which there is plenty.
1 HOUR LATER
Your body starts to experience a sugar crash, as well as the effects of the caffeine dying down, you’ll start to feel tired and energy levels will start to feel low.
You’ve also now urinated out all the water that was in the energy drink.
First, however, that water infused with valuable nutrients that your body could have used hydrate your system or strengthen your bone, which were also washed out.
5-6 HOURS LATER
It takes this long for the amount of caffeine to halve in your body.
For women who take the Pill, it will take 10 hours.
12 HOURS LATER
The time that it takes most people to fully remove caffeine from their bloodstream.
The speed at which this happens does depend on many factors from age to activity.
12-24 HOURS LATER
Withdrawal symptoms kick in.
About a day after you had your caffeine hit, you’re in the mood for another.
If you have become used to a daily – or more regular – fix, you will start to feel lethargic, distressed, experience headaches and constipation.
7-12 DAYS LATER
Studies have shown this to be the time frame for your body to become tolerant to your regular caffeine dosage.
That means you’ll get used to it and won’t feel the effects as much.
THE PROS AND CONS OF DRINKING ENERGY DRINKS
PRO: Energy drinks like Red Bull are well within the national guidelines of 400 milligrams of caffeine per day. They contain 80 milligrams per 250ml can.
PRO: Coffee can be much higher in caffeine. For example, a venti americano at Starbucks contains 300mg of caffeine.
CON: It is high in sugar – and therefore calories. And caffeine, a stimulant drug, can cause anxiety, dehydration, nausea, and a dangerously high heart rate.
CON: The number of people hospitalized due to energy drinks doubled between 2007 and 2014 in the US, according to SAMHSA.