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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 18-23

Awareness and usage of sports and energy drinks among university students: A pilot study in Turkey


1 Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Istanbul Aydin University, Istanbul, Turkey
2 Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Medipol University, Istanbul, Turkey

Date of Submission09-Feb-2018
Date of Acceptance21-Mar-2018
Date of Web Publication19-Jun-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Indrani Kalkan
Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Istanbul Aydin University, Istanbul
Turkey
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/bjhs.bjhs_4_18

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  Abstract 


BACKGROUND: Sports and energy drinks are progressively gaining popularity among the young population for variable reasons such as improving performance and boosting energy and alertness, owing to the presence of stimulants such as caffeine and guarana. In spite of its increased consumption, lack of adequate knowledge exists regarding the intended use of these drinks. Recent studies have reported negative health outcomes of some of the sports and energy drink components.
OBJECTIVE: This pilot study investigated the intentions of a group of university students regarding sports and energy drink usage, their consumption status, and awareness regarding effects of these drinks on health.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study was conducted on 194 university students aged 20.52 ± 1.76 years, between September 2016 and February 2017. A questionnaire was administered enquiring physical activity level and knowledge of energy and sports drinks.
RESULTS: Of the participants, 5.2% were found to be regular users of sports beverage and 6.7% of energy drinks. Most of the participants (90.2%) were confused between concepts of sports and energy drinks. Health problems such as insomnia, dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, abdominal pain, and diarrhea were reported by energy drink users, in particular.
CONCLUSION: Young people need to be informed about sports and energy drinks and their potential damages.

Keywords: Awareness, energy drinks, students


How to cite this article:
Kalkan I, Pehlivan M, Anda S, Öztürk SA, Ersoy G. Awareness and usage of sports and energy drinks among university students: A pilot study in Turkey. BLDE Univ J Health Sci 2018;3:18-23

How to cite this URL:
Kalkan I, Pehlivan M, Anda S, Öztürk SA, Ersoy G. Awareness and usage of sports and energy drinks among university students: A pilot study in Turkey. BLDE Univ J Health Sci [serial online] 2018 [cited 2018 Sep 21];3:18-23. Available from: http://www.bldeujournalhs.in/text.asp?2018/3/1/18/234647



The usage and popularity of sports and energy drinks among the young population are increasing progressively; however, young people do not have adequate knowledge regarding their intended use, and often, the two terminologies are confused with each other.

Marketing strategy of sports drinks is to improve sport performance, to replenish lost water and electrolytes during exercise, and to provide carbohydrate support. Energy drinks are marketed with assertions to boost energy, reduce fatigue, and increase concentration and mental attention. Although sports and energy drinks are two confusing terms, they are different products with different intended uses. Sports drinks are aromatic drinks containing mostly carbohydrates, minerals, electrolytes, and in some cases vitamins and other nutrients. Although energy drinks create a perception of providing energy, they typically contain stimulants such as caffeine and guarana, as well as carbohydrates, proteins, amino acids, vitamins, sodium, and other minerals in various proportions.[1] The young population is an ideal target in the market of energy drinks to be used extensively for increasing energy level, alertness, and mental and physical performances.[2] Energy and sports drinks are used extensively by individuals engaged in active sports within the age group of 21–35 years and progressively gaining popularity among lower age groups.[3] Negative health effects of some of the components present in sports and energy drinks components have been suggested. There is a strong link between consumption of sweetened drinks and childhood obesity.[4] Energy drinks may also cause psychological effects such as anxiety and insomnia due to their caffeine content.[5] On the other hand, one of the most important negative effects of sports drinks is erosion of teeth.[6] Young people consuming energy drinks are more prone to alcohol and drug use.[7] Energy drinks may also cause acute cardiovascular problems and possible chronic illnesses.[8]

Awareness level of the young individual age group is very critical since they are the top users of these products and must be informed adequately. There is not sufficient data in this respect for Turkish youth, and therefore, this study was aimed to determine the consumption status of sports and energy drinks among university students and to evaluate their awareness regarding the intended use, as well as the deleterious effects of these beverages on health. Data obtained from this study will set a roadmap for educators for increasing awareness and knowledge of the youth in this area.


  Materials and Methods Top


This study was conducted on 194 university students in Istanbul, Turkey, between September 2016 and February 2017. Care was taken to enable a uniform distribution with respect to the students' gender and fields of study (general science, health science, and social science). The total population of students studying in these departments in the academic year 2016–2017 was 390. The sample was calculated to be 194 according to stratified sampling method (confidence level 95%, margin of error 5%). The participants were selected on a random basis after taking their voluntary approval. The questionnaire was prepared after literature review by the authors who are academic faculty members of the Nutrition and Dietetics Department at Istanbul Aydin University. The study was conducted by the authors under the supervision and guidance of an expert academician in the field of sports nutrition.[1]

Frequency of doing regular exercise as well as body weight and height measurements of the participants was recorded. To assess their awareness regarding various sports and energy drinks, a question as “please name the brands of three sports and energy drinks that you know” was directed to the participants as evaluation criteria. The students who were able to provide all the names of each time of drinks correctly were evaluated as being aware. On the other hand, students who provided two or more incorrect responses were evaluated as being unaware or confused regarding distinguishing the two drinks. The usage of the drinks by the participants was evaluated based on the question “please name the product you use.” Any drink mentioned that did not belong to the category of sports and/or energy drinks were excluded from the data.

Ethical issues

Ethical approval for this study was acquired by Istanbul Aydin University Ethical Committee dated March 3, 2017 (Document No: 54167746-050.99).


  Results Top


The study included 194 students (94 males, 100 females) with a mean age of 20.52 ± 1.76 years. The average body mass index (BMI) of the students was calculated as 22.24 (±3.21) kg/m 2. [Table 1] shows the distribution of students according to the BMI category. As seen in [Table 1], 68.8% of the students were normal, 18.8% were overweight, and 10.9% were in the lean category.
Table 1: Distribution of students according to body mass index category

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Of the participants, 36.1% were from general science, 35.6% were from health sciences, and the rest of the students (28.4%) were studying in social sciences faculties. Percentage of participants belonging to the 1st year and 2nd year was 76.3%, whereas 23.7% belonged to the 3rd year and 4th year of the university.

The correct answers provided by the students, to the question “please name the brands of three sports and energy drinks that you know” to determine their awareness regarding sports and energy drinks, were 2.6% for sports drink and 7.2% for energy drink, respectively. Most of the students (90.2%) were confused between sports and energy drinks. When students were questioned whether they consumed sports and/or energy drinks, 5.2% stated that they consumed sports drinks whereas 6.7% declared that they consumed energy drinks [Table 2].
Table 2: Awareness and usage of sport and energy drinks by university students

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More than half of the students who used sports drinks stated that they consumed their drinks during (60%) and after exercise (70%). On the other hand, 53.8% of energy drink users stated that they consumed the drink whenever they wished; 30.8% stated that they consumed the drink before and during exercise as well as when they were thirsty in summer.

All of the students said that they consumed sports drinks chilled. Among energy drink users, 84.6% consumed it chilled and 15.4% preferred to take it along with alcoholic drinks.

On analyzing the distribution of students consuming sports and energy drinks according to their class years at the university; 90.0% of sports drink consumers belonged to the 1st year and 2nd year. On the other hand, 53.9% of energy drink consumers belonged to the 1st year and 2nd year, and 46.1% were in the 3rd year and 4th year [Table 3].
Table 3: Distribution of students consuming sports and energy drink by class year

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From [Table 4], it can be seen that 70% of sports beverage consumers and 69.2% of energy beverage consumers did do sports on a regular basis. There was a significant relationship between their sporting activities and their sports and energy drink consumption (P < 0.05).
Table 4: Sports activity status of students consuming sports and energy drink

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[Table 5] summarizes the positive and negative effects of sports and energy drinks on sports performance as stated by the students. All of the students stated that sport drinks made them feel energetic, 60% felt stronger after consuming them and liked their taste, and 50% mentioned that sports drinks increased their attention. Regarding energy drinks, 76.9% of the students stated that they felt energetic after consuming them, 46.2% felt stronger, 69.2% liked the taste, and 30.8% mentioned that energy drinks boosted their attention.
Table 5: Positive and negative side effects of sports and energy drinks as stated by participants

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The participants who used sports and energy drinks were also asked about the negative side effects of the products they used. Only one participant who used sports drinks reported nausea and one other participant reported complaints of abdominal pain and diarrhea. Regarding energy drinks, 15.4% of the students using them reported dizziness and nausea, 7.7% blurred vision, 15.4% abdominal pain and diarrhea, and 53.8% experienced insomnia.


  Discussion Top


Consumption of sports and energy drinks

In a study conducted by West et al., a 40% consumption rate of sports and a 30% of energy beverages were reported in a group of university students (n = 253).[9] Another study conducted to determine the use of energy drinks among adults indicated a consumption rate of 51%[10] although the frequency of consumption varied. Park et al. reported a consumption rate of 64.3% for sports and energy drinks in the US adults.[11] In Larson et al.'s study comprising 2287 young individuals (45% males with mean age 25.3 years), it was reported that at least one-third of the participants consumed sports and one-fifth consumed energy beverages at least once a week. The authors also stated that these beverages were more popular among males and especially among those who engaged in regular physical or sports activities.[12]

In a study performed in Turkey regarding energy drink consumption behaviors in students (n = 750, mean age 20.67 ± 4.88 years, 61.9 females), 39.7% were found to consume energy drinks and most of them consumed these beverages in the evening hours. Almost 32.2% of the participants stated to have been influenced by peers, 27.5% by adverts and commercials, 40.3% from other sources, regarding the use of energy beverages.[13]

In this study, out of the 194 students, 5.2% consumed sports and 6.7% were found to consume energy drinks. These numbers were somewhat lower as compared to other studies in the literature. The fact that 88.1% of the students did not use either of the drinks is evaluated positively. As stated in the methodology, since the evaluation criterion of awareness and usage was determined by querying the product names correctly, the participants finally taken into consideration were very less, and henceforth, the results may not have been found to be in parallel with other studies.

Confusion between sports and energy drinks

According to the results obtained in this study, it has been determined that the students often confused the concepts of sports and energy drinks. Regarding the question of naming three sports and energy drinks correctly to determine the awareness of the students, only 2.6% of the respondents answered correctly for sports drinks and 7.2% for energy drinks. Nearly 90.2% of participants confused the names of sports and energy drinks. These figures depict inadequate knowledge and awareness regarding these beverages and may be considered a negative data as far as sports performance of individuals is considered, taking into account the varied scope of usage of each of these products.

Similarly, in another study conducted in Turkey among university students, it was found that most of the students could not correctly select sports and energy drinks from the list of commercial names of the products.[14]

Intended use of sports and energy beverages

In this study, most of the students who used sports drinks consumed it during and after exercise. On the other hand, 53.8% of energy beverage users consumed when they wished and 30.8% of them consumed it before and during exercise and in the summer when thirsty. Similarly, Fields et al. in their study reported that the majority of energy beverage users consumed the drink during and after exercise (41.1% before exercise, 59.3% during exercise, and 67.0% after exercise). Another study reported that 67.7% of energy beverage users consumed the drink when they wished to do so.[15] On comparing the students' sports activity status with sports and energy drink usage, it was determined that students performing regular sports preferred both sports and energy drinks as compared to students who were not performing regular sports. Among students performing regular sports, sports drink consumption was 70.0%, energy drink consumption was 69.2%, while among those who did not do sports, the percentage of consumption were 30% and 30.8%, respectively [Table 4]. In a study on adolescents, there was a significant positive relationship between sports participation and consumption of sports drinks.[16] In another study, constituting of 194 athletes in the 18–22 years of age range, it was determined that 85.5% stated that they did not consume energy drinks, which were very similar to our findings. These results are of considerable interest considering the fact that sports and energy drinks are very popular among young generation.[17] It was reported that with the increase in active sports among students, rate of sports and energy drink consumption also rose.[1] Low consumption of sports and energy drinks among the participants as indicated in the results of this study was gratifying since such products lead to obesity and energy drinks are often consumed with alcoholic beverages.[18]

In a study conducted in Antalya, Turkey, by Özkan et al. in 2014, it was reported that energy drinks were not very popular among beverages, they were mostly consumed to stay awake, and 41.6% of participants stated that they took these drinks along with alcoholic beverages.[19] The benefits of sports and energy drinks, as stated by the students who consumed them, were energy (100.0%, 76.9%), strength (60.0%, 46.2%), taste (60.0%, 69.2%) and attention (50.0%, 30.8%). In the study conducted by Malinauskas et al., participants reported to have used energy drinks for the purpose of preventing sleep (67%) and increasing energy (65%).[10] In the study investigating the negative consequences of use of energy drinks among students, Reid et al. reported that male students preferred to consume energy drinks, especially for increasing energy (50%), preventing sleep (45%), and improving academic performance (40%).[2] Therefore, the reasons for consuming these drinks in this study were found to be similar to the preferences reported in the literature. In a study performed in Palestine on 279 university students, 68.6% of the participants stated the main reason for consumption of energy drinks was to stay awake and 58.5% for increasing concentration during examinations and project work; however, 59.3% of students declared that they disliked the taste of the beverage.[20] Rahamathulla in his study in Saudi Arabia reported that 81.3% of the participants consumed energy drinks. Regarding the reasons of consumption, 59.4% consumed to provide company to peers, 41.2% to improve performance in examinations, and 39.4% to increase concentration.[21]

Health consequences of sports and energy beverages

The negative side effects stated by students consuming sports and energy drinks in this study were dizziness (30.0%, 15.4%), nausea (10.0%, 15.4%), abdominal pain (10.0%, 15.4%), and insomnia (50.0% and 53.8%), respectively. Unlike sports drink, 7.7% of energy drinkers said that they had a blurry vision in their eyes after consumption.

In the literature, however, the stated negative side effects of energy drink consumption are very diverse. In one study, users reported of tension (25.3%) and anxiety,[15] while in another study, 29% complained of undergoing a seizure after consuming energy drink, 22% reported headache, and 19% complained of a heart attack problem.[10] Similar to this study, the negative side effects observed in another study were restlessness (22%), seizures (17.1%), and tachycardia (16.6%).[2] The common symptoms frequently encountered in the literature are insomnia, headache, and gastrointestinal symptoms, which are interpreted to have caused as a result of variations in individual tolerance levels. In the study conducted in Palestinian students, 40.9% of the participants did not report any side effects, whereas the most common side effect reported was tachycardia (29.5%) and the least common was headache (9.1%) unlike Rahmathulla's findings, who reported the most common side effect to be headache (32.3%) and the least common one to be allergy (2%).[20],[21]

Strengths and limitations of the study

Strengths

Recent studies have reported negative health outcomes of some of the sports and energy drink components. The scope of usage for each product is variable. Moreover, sports and energy drinks are concepts which are often confused with each other. Awareness level of the young age group is very critical since they are the top users of these products and must be informed adequately. There are not sufficient data in this respect for Turkish youth, and therefore, data obtained from this study will set a roadmap for educators for increasing awareness and knowledge of the youth in this area.

Limitations

There are some limitations in this study that may affect the obtained results to be generalized. First, the sample size was small due to the evaluation criteria based on correct responses for further analysis. Second, since control group was not taken into account, health consequences such as insomnia, dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, abdominal pain, and diarrhea could not be attributed to the use of sports and energy drinks alone.

Future directions of the study

Nevertheless, this study was planned as a pilot study which could at least provide an idea regarding the awareness and use of sports and energy beverages among young people. According to this study, the percentage of students using these products were low; however, it would be of interest to find out if we would obtain the same results had the study been repeated on a larger population.


  Conclusion Top


The results of the study showed that the majority of the students did not consume sports and energy drinks. Nevertheless, young people need to be informed about sports and energy drinks, chemical components, their potential uses, and possible health consequences since their awareness was found to be low. In students performing regular sports, consumption of energy drinks is higher instead of sports drinks indicating confusion between the two products. Therefore, adequate nutrition information, especially to this group, must be provided. In general, efforts must be spent to control the rapidly increasing consumption of caffeine-containing products among university students and increase their awareness regarding frequency, quantity of consumption, and deleterious health effects of these products.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

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Ersoy G. Importance of water and electrolytes in sports. In: Ersoy G, editör. Physical Fitness Basic Teaching about Sports and Nutrition. 2nd ed. Ankara: Ankara Nobel Medical Publishers; 2016. p. 185-228.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Reid SD, Ramsarran J, Brathwaite R, Lyman S, Baker A, Cornish DC, et al. Energy drink usage among university students in a Caribbean country: Patterns of use and adverse effects. J Epidemiol Glob Health 2015;5:103-16.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
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Dikici S, Aydın LY, Kutlucan A, Ercan N. What do we know about energy drinks? J Dicle Med 2012;39:609-13.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
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Ludwig DS, Peterson KE, Gortmaker SL. Relation between consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and childhood obesity: A prospective, observational analysis. Lancet 2001;357:505-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
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Milosevic A. Sports drinks hazard to teeth. Br J Sports Med 1997;31:28-30.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
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Heckman MA, Sherry K, Gonzalez de Mejia E. Energy drinks: An assessment of their market size, consumer demographics, ingredient profile, functionality, and regulations in the United States. Comp Rev Food Sci Food Saf 2010;9:303-17.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
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Terry-McElrath YM, O'Malley PM, Johnston LD. Energy drinks, soft drinks, and substance use among United States secondary school students. J Addict Med 2014;8:6-13.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
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Higgins JP, Yarlagadda S, Yang B. Cardiovascular complications of energy drinks. Drinks 2015;1:104-26.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
West DS, Bursac Z, Quimby D, Prewitt TE, Spatz T, Nash C, et al. Self-reported sugar-sweetened beverage intake among college students. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2006;14:1825-31.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
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Malinauskas BM, Aeby VG, Overton RF, Carpenter-Aeby T, Barber-Heidal K. A survey of energy drink consumption patterns among college students. Nutr J 2007;6:35.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Park S, Onufrak S, Blanck HM, Sherry B. Characteristics associated with consumption of sports and energy drinks among US adults: National health interview survey, 2010. J Acad Nutr Diet 2013;113:112-9.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Larson N, Laska MN, Story M, Neumark-Sztainer D. Sports and energy drink consumption are linked to health-risk behaviours among young adults. Public Health Nutr 2015;18:2794-803.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
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Şen L, Ertuğrul Dere H, Koçak Şİ. Investigation of energy beverage consumption behaviors among university students: The case of Afyon Kocatepe university. J Turk Agric Food Sci Technol 2015;3:394-401.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
Attila S, Çakir B. Energy-drink consumption in college students and associated factors. Nutrition 2011;27:316-22.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.
Fields SK, MacDonald J, Joseph AM, Wold LE, Collins CL, Comstock RD. Consumption of sports and energy drinks by high school athletes in the United States: A pilot study. Drinks 2015;1:218-24.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
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Larson N, Dewolfe J, Story M, Neumark-Sztainer D. Adolescent consumption of sports and energy drinks: Linkages to higher physical activity, unhealthy beverage patterns, cigarette smoking, and screen media use. J Nutr Educ Behav 2014;46:181-7.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
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Hardy R, Kliemann N, Evansen T, Brand J. Relationship between energy drink consumption and nutrition knowledge in student-athletes. J Nutr Educ Behav 2017;49:19-260.  Back to cited text no. 17
    
18.
de Haan L, de Haan HA, Olivier B, Verster JC. Alcohol mixed with energy drinks: Methodology and design of the Utrecht Student Survey. Int J Gen Med 2012;5:889-98.  Back to cited text no. 18
    
19.
Özkan B, Akpınar G, Karaman S, Ceylan M. Factors affecting energy drinks consumption and consumer consciousness level in Antalya. Dünya Gıda 2014;3:79-88.  Back to cited text no. 19
    
20.
Sabbah HA, Qamhia N, Younis M. Consumption patterns and side effects of energy drinks among university students in palestine: Cross-sectional study. MOJ Public Health 2015;2:00015-18.  Back to cited text no. 20
    
21.
Rahamathulla MP. Prevalence, side effects and awareness about energy drinks among the female university students in Saudi Arabia. Pak J Med Sci 2017;33:347-52.  Back to cited text no. 21
    



 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5]



 

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