Energy Drinks; Friend or Foe?

energy drinks

Energy drinks are quite common these days. We can’t go around the corner without seeing a popular black and green colored energy drink everywhere. 

You don’t even have to look far before you find someone selling your favorite brand of energy drink on the road. But before you grab that cold can or chilled bottle, let’s take a closer look at these drinks and see how healthy they are for you. 

First off, what are energy drinks? 

These are beverages that have large quantities of stimulants like taurine, guarana, and L-carnitine. They also have large amounts of caffeine as well as sugar. They also have herbal extracts like ginseng which is said to help the brain function. The overall effect that energy drinks claim to have is to boost your energy and help you stay alert. 

Some other energy drinks claim to boost your immune system and help you perform better at sports while keeping you energized all day long. Many of these drinks claim to be healthy with all-natural stimulants that are beneficial to the body. 

Are they really all that? 

Just as they have been touted to be healthy for us by the manufacturers, some health experts have cried out that they are not as great as they are made out to be. 

This is important because we all know someone that loves energy drinks. Whether it’s the student that takes it to study all night or the young person who takes a can or two to stay sharp at work or even the party lover who mixes theirs with alcohol. 

All in all, energy drinks are too popular and are consumed too widely for you not to pay attention to what’s in them. 

What are the real advantages of energy drinks? 

  • They help to keep you energized: True to their claims, energy drinks keep your mind and body energized and awake. This is because of the sugar and caffeine content. 
  • They can help improve your mood: Have you ever had a cup of coffee and felt motivated to face your day? Yes, that’s exactly why people love drinking coffee every morning. The caffeine content in energy drinks helps keep you motivated and in a good mood.
  • They can give you the energy to exercise: Some people claim that taking an energy drink before a strenuous workout gives them the energy they need to work out. 
  • They can improve your brain function: Apart from keeping you awake, several studies have shown that energy drinks can improve your memory, and concentration and even reduce your mental fatigue. This may be due to the caffeine content or the mixture of caffeine and sugar content. 

Disadvantages of Energy drinks 

  • They’ve been implicated in heart disease: Taking energy drinks may increase the heart rate and blood pressure which is bad for the heart. This is especially common among people that consume more than three of these drinks at a time as well as those who mix them with alcohol. This combination has been associated with heart palpitations 
  • Their sugar content isn’t healthy for you: A 250ml can of a particular energy drink contains up to 7 teaspoons of sugar. This is quite a lot, especially if more than one can or bottle is taken. Taking such large quantities of sugar will spike your blood sugar levels and cause inflammation which is not healthy for you. There are low-sugar versions of these drinks available. 
  • The combination of energy drinks plus alcohol can be quite fatal: This is because the caffeine content in the energy drink will reduce the intoxicating effects of alcohol. This means that you can be functionally intoxicated without feeling like it. This is dangerous because you’re prone to accidents and other alcohol-related risks.  
  • It’s not safe for children: Since most drinks are quite sweet, children may be tempted to take energy drinks, however, they are not recommended for children and teenagers. This is due to their high sugar and caffeine levels. 
energy drinks

At the end of the day 

Now you know the advantages and disadvantages of taking energy drinks, it’s up to you to decide if you still want to drink them. I would advise that you take them in moderation and not too often. Also if you’re taking them, then don’t take other caffeinated beverages at the same time. 

Pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and teenagers should not take these drinks. 

How much sugar should you be taking daily? Click here to read our article to find out!

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