Are Energy Drinks Healthy?
Energy Drinks versus Sports Drinks, which is Healthier?
My friends and family know that I am passionate about health, wellness and fitness, and recently a question entered my mind as I was in conversation with one of the waitresses who serves us coffee in the morning at our favorite restaurant.
The waitress, I will call Sharon (not her real name) informed me that she was on the waiting list for a liver transplant. Sharon was in her early thirties and looked healthy. I had to nose around and find out why someone who looked so healthy needed a new liver. In view of the fact that my passion is health and wellness, what she told me I had never heard of before or even thought about as being bad for the body. I had never researched the subject or the pros and cons of this product.
Sharon told me that when she was in her teen years and for about 15-years as an adult, until the last few years, enjoyed energy drinks and drank at least four a day versus water, juice and other hydration drinks. She told me she was not a coffee or tea drinker, just energy drinks and sometimes plain water.
She told me that the liver filters out everything we put into our body and the energy drinks she has consumed over the years damaged her liver to the point that it was not removing the harmful toxins from the body anymore, thus she needed a new liver. She told me that she was coming to the time where if she did not receive a new liver soon she would die.
Her advice to everyone was, "Do not drink energy drinks they are very harmful to the body. They do live up to their promise of giving people energy, but this comes at a high cost."
I had to do some research on energy drinks and this is what I found out from some informational sites only, established as .org, .edu or .gov. Medical websites also had some very good information such as Mayo Clinic, WebMD, Brown University, tellmed.org and newhealthguide.org. What all these resources, had in common was that they all came to the same conclusion that energy drinks are not good for the body. Do not get sport drinks confused with energy drinks.
I did read that energy drinks considered a food source by the FDA, could contain whatever the manufacturers wanted to put into these drinks. Most energy drinks contain the following ingredients.
- B vitamins
- Green Tea Extract
- Green Coffee Extract
- Ginkgo Biloba
Energy drinks are appearing on store shelves in droves. Each year new energy drinks appear on the market. In our ever-present fast world, many of us beg for just a bit more energy to get through the day.
Granted, some energy drinks contain a good source of nutrition and while providing energy. Other energy drinks contain too much sugar and artificial ingredients, additives and preservatives. In the end, too many energy drinks in my opinion can harm your health and body's function. It is highly recommended to consume adequate nutrition through consuming a balanced diet versus energy drinks.
If a person consumes energy drinks even to a lesser degree then our waitress, but often enough, the person stands the risk for some very negative side effects, such as the following.
- Pre-diabetes from the sugar content
- Heart palpitations putting one at risk for further heart problems
- High blood pressure
- Increased perspiration with a risk for irregular heart beat
- Dehydration as caffeine is considered a diuretic, which removes fluids from the body
- Nausea and stomach upset due to the caffeine increasing stomach acid
- Never mix an energy drink with alcohol
If an energy drink has, no caffeine listed on the label the drink usually contains Guarana. This ingredient is equivalent to caffeine and can still cause some problems for the person.
My family enjoys sport drinks instead of energy drinks. Sport drinks generally contain vitamins, minerals, electrolytes and no sugar, no caffeine, Guarana, and Taurine. Every person has to make his or her own choice about what to eat or drink, and weigh the consequences. I prefer to drink filtered ice water, with a shot of real lemon and a packet of Stevia.
The Internet has many websites carrying the pros and cons of energy drinks that people can easily research. It is my personal opinion that energy drinks, consumed every day are not good for the body, but one energy drink once in a while may be alright.
I know that the waitress was sincere in her advice not to drink energy drinks on a routine basis and I trust what she said about her liver disease. She told me that she passes this information on to everyone who will listen to her advice.
Healthy Energy Drinks at Home and on the Go
It is a safe option to mix your own energy drinks at home by using all the fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables you like. Use a blender to mix ingredients. Some popular energy drink recipes are as follows, some of which are my own recipe.
The Rise and Shine Energy Drink
1 Cup of Orange Juice, not from concentrate
1 Small banana
1/4 Cup of vanilla yogurt
1/2 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 Teaspoon Ceylon Cinnamon
(Ceylon cinnamon is the best and richest cinnamon you can buy) Purchase on Amazon at a decent price.)
Blend thoroughly in a blender and drink
My husband is an avid weight lifter for the last 45-years. He has read a lot about protein powders, vitamins and minerals and wanted me to experiment on a natural energy drink he could take before workouts. Since he uses Whey Protein Powder mix, I used this in his energy drink. There are some things that are good for the body, but he will not eat them. I incorporated these items in this drink, did not tell him, such as yogurt, and he loves the flavor.
1 Cup milk, preferably soy milk, any flavor
1/2 Cup plain Greek yogurt
One whole banana
1 scoop Whey Protein Powder
1/2 Cup Blueberries
Two Heaping tablespoons almond butter
1/2 Teaspoon Pure Almond Extract
2 Teaspoons flax seed oil
Blend thoroughly in a blender and drink