Energy drinks are very common today and have become one of those drinks many drink at leisure, for many different reasons. The question still stands; are energy drinks good for you?
Energy drinks are supposed to help you boost energy, concentration and alertness. However, it is for these very reasons that many have neglected the downsides of these drinks.
What are energy drinks?
According to Wikipedia, energy drinks are drinks containing stimulant compounds, usually caffeine, which is marketed as providing mental and physical stimulation (marketed as “energy”, but distinct from food energy).
Most energy drinks contain caffeine, herbal extracts, sugar or other sweeteners. Popular energy drinks are redbull, monster, bank, full throttle and lucozade.
According to the National Centre for complimentary and integrative health, energy drinks have raised the following health concerns;
Between 2007 and 2011, the number of energy drink-related visits to emergency departments doubled. In 2011, 1 in 10 of these visits resulted in hospitalization.
About 25 percent of college students consume alcohol with energy drinks, and they binge-drink significantly more often than students who don’t mix them.
According to the CDC; ages 15 to 23 who mix alcohol with energy drinks are four times more likely to binge drink at high intensity (i.e., consume six or more drinks per binge episode) than drinkers who do not mix alcohol with energy drinks.
Drinkers who mix alcohol with energy drinks are more likely than drinkers who do not mix alcohol with energy drinks to report unwanted or unprotected sex, driving drunk or riding with a driver who was intoxicated, or sustaining alcohol-related injuries.
In 2011, 42 percent of all energy drink-related emergency department visits involved combining these beverages with alcohol or drugs (such as marijuana or over-the-counter or prescription medicines).
The above are serious concerns, especially if you are one of those who look forward to that energy drinking episode on daily basis.
Why you shouldn’t drink energy drinks
Since we are not scientists, we have largely based our research on observations from those that take energy drinks. We also based our research about these energy drinks on what other researchers came up with.
The overall picture is not too good when it comes to energy drinks. We all know; where there is smoke, there is a fire. Before you disregard what is written in this article, please use energy drinks(as a personal experiment) and watch out for what has been mentioned here.
Here are the reasons why you shouldn’t consume energy drinks.
Risk of consuming too much caffeine
You can find up to 300mg of caffeine in a single can of energy drink.
Okay, let’s try to be extra conservative with our figures.
Let’s assume we have only 140mg of caffeine in a can (many energy drink types claim to have around this figure for a 16 fl oz. drink). We all know the sugar in these drinks is persuasive to the extent that, on average, consumers will take 3-5 cans of energy drink a day.
The above creates a total of about 420mg – 700mg of caffeine consumption a day. According to Mayo Clinic, 400mg of caffeine a day is usually safe to drink. Beyond this; the following sighns may begin to show;
- Frequent urination
- Fast heartbeat
- Muscle tremors
High sugar consumption
Energy drinks contain huge amounts of sugar, which is probably why many get glued to these. These make you consume extra calories which doesn’t help you if you are trying to put off weight.
They are generally not healthy
These drinks are not classified amongst healthy foods you can consume. This goes without saying; they are not good for you. This is something the big brands will not tell the public. They are more interested in making a profit than helping you get better.
They will cause you to be dependent.
Energy drinks, due to the very high caffeine content as we have seen above, will get you glued to these drinks.
Any attempt to withdraw will bring about caffeine withdrawal symptoms which eventually refers you back to grabbing that usual energy drink.
Energy drinks have been linked to many diseases.
The caffeine content is very high in energy drinks. As we have seen above, too much caffeine can cause rapid heartbeat. This is an indication that the heart is struggling to push blood to the rest of the body.
Having a single problem with the heart can result in more problems with health. This can basically be the beginning of disaster.
Interesting thoughts on energy drinks
Try out something simple; do a google search of the phrase ‘Are energy drinks good for you?’
What you will find:
You will come across a bunch of people and scientists claiming there is no proof that energy drinks are bad for the body.
I believe; when you do research, you are meant to carry your own brains with you (many don’t seem to do). They are still waiting to find scientific proof that energy drinks bring about all the hell we have listed above.
With a little reasoning, you can come to the conclusion that if something contains that much of caffeine and sugar, then it’s most probably not good for your health.
If you ask the same folks about the negative effects of too much caffeine; they will give you a bunch of answers. Yet they would say there is no proof energy drinks are bad for your health.
This is a contradiction! If you want to know if something is good for you, check the ingridients. If the ingredients are not good for your health, then the product s definitely not good for you.
Okay, let’s say you are going to be kind to yourself and are ready to consume just one can of energy drink aday. Well, the sugar content still doesn’t pass the test.
One can of energy drink might contain all the sugar you need to consume in aday. This in addition to the sugar you will find in other foods will take you over your daily sugar intake. You may take advantage of the sugar free versions if you want to get away with the high sugar content.
Examples of good energy drinks
After all the above, can we still find some energy drinks that are good?
Well, ‘yes’, for afew reasons below;
- Some claim to be sugar free. If you believe them, then these can be considered safe.
- If you consume them less often and not many at a time.
- If you don’t mix them with alcohol as many do.
Let’s look at some of the good energy drinks you can try
Eboost super fuel
This is mostly a natural energy drink with nootropics, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes and definitely caffeine. According to their website, the amont of caffeine in a can is about 110mg, which is quite low to start with.
*You can buy this from amazon by clicking here.
This has very many flavours you can choose from. It contains green tea extract, guarana, ginger root, vit C, vit B and chromium, which is able to help control hunger. This drink is good for fitness geeks too especially those who want to lose weight.
Most of runa flavours contain about 10 calories according to their wesite. Runa also has caffeine just like other energy drinks. It has low sugar, which makes it significantly good for consumption.
Energy drink alternatives
There are alternatives you can use if you really want to get that burst of energy that energy drinks give you. They are way healthier and safer to drink. Some of them still contain caffeine but not at hyped quantities like some of the energy drinks out there.
Water has always been the first recommendation amongst healthy drinks. To some extent (possibly great extent) water contributes to the energy you will feel throughout your day.
One of the signs of dehydration is the feeling of tiredness. This clearly means that water contributes to the energy feeling you need.
We have written an in-depth article about water. The article is primarily about water for weight loss, but provides good knowledge on the subject of water that anyone can use. Click here to see the article
2. Coconut water
The best when you want to replace electrolytes after a workout. It has magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, calcium
which are very essential for your body. They have so many health benefits, which if added up, are all important if you want to feel energized.
3. Green tea
It does contain caffeine but to a much lesser extent than coffee. Green tea is healthy as an alternative to energy drinks as you will be saving yourself from many other added ingredients like excessive sugar.
Apart from giving you that energy boost, green tea has many other health benefits.
Are you one of those looking to lose weight? We have written an article about green tea for weight loss. You can check it out here.
4. Green Smoothies
Smoothies with spinach, kale and parsely help to improve metabolism. Good metabolism means the body can have energy when it is needed.
For an in-depth understanding of metabolism, read the article here about metabolism. The article is primarily about metabolism for weight loss but has good information to help you understand how metabolism works in general. See the article here.
5. Protein shakes
A good protein shake will fill you up and also give you a busrt of energy. Proteins are essential for you to feel strong and alive.
When you choose this option, ensure to choose the right protein shakes. Many protein shakes you buy from stores or supermarkets will have lots of sugar.
Protein shakes are best made at home. Read about how to make protein shakes at home. This article has everything you need to know to make your first protein shake.
Are energy drinks good for weight loss?
Most of the popular energy drinks on the market are not good for weight loss. As we have seen above, they contain lots of caffeine and sugar. Caffein is good for weight loss but a lot of it will put your health as a stake.
On the other hand, plenty of added sugar will increase your calorie intake. This does the reverse of you losing weight.
To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you take in. You will have to work hard to burn down the calories from energy drink intake.
However, the alternatives to energy drinks listed above are better options if you are on the weight loss journey.
You can even try some of the energy drinks listed above. In any case, there are no guarantees, drinks tend to have much more than what the label says.
Downsides of energy drinks
Too much caffeine is top of the list. With about 200mg in a can of energy drink, you surely going to get over your daily caffeine intake.
Most energy drinks contain too much sugar. This becomes a problem for those looking to lose weight. Even without any weight loss agendas, you should remain within your recommended daily sugar intake.
They create dependency. Consuming energy drinks will leave you yearning for more, because of the sugar seduction and energy boost they give you. Any attempts to withdraw will cause caffeine withdrawal symptoms which eventually pulls you back to the same pit.
Energy drinks may increase risk of a wide range of health problems. From tooth decay, diabetes, high blood pressure, the list goes on.
All the effects of caffeine overdose when consumed for longer. Rapid heartbeat, dizziness, diarrhea, fever, headache and insomnia.
Are energy drinks good for you?
If you have read this article from the beginning, I guess you can come to a conclusion of your own.
Energy drinks are not just about energy. Well, they technically give you the boost, but have another untold story. The label may not tell you everything.
If you have been using energy drinks and would like to continue, try the good energy drinks listed above, or better still, energy drink alternatives are better