The Truth About Energy Drinks
“Red Bull gives you wings”!!
How many of us have heard this slogan? I bet most of us. If you are feeling low on energy, Red Bull or brands similar to them are the first ones to come in mind. And I am sure that most of us swear by energy drinks such as Red Bull or Gatorade. While these energy drinks do help restore our energy while we are tired, do we know the full truth about these energy drinks? After reading this, you may think twice before you grab a can of these energy drinks.
The truth about energy drinks
Before you grab a can of Red Bull, Monster or Gatorade, you must know the following facts.
- Energy drinks have more than double or triple the caffeine compared to normal caffeinated beverages such as coffee, ice-tea or soda even though the serving size of an energy drink is about 2/3rd of a typical soda. At high doses, this caffeine can create dangerous physical problems such as nausea, rapid heart rate, palpitation, chest pain and vomiting.
- Some energy drinks also have 'creatine', which is used for building muscle. In excessive doses especially combined with other ingredients in the energy drink, creatine can cause muscle cramps, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and gastrointestinal distress.
- Energy drinks contain B-vitamins such as B6 and B12. While these vitamins are generally necessary for a healthy living, the vitamins in the energy drink don't do anything. Absolutely nothing positive!! On the contrary, an overdose of something good is also too bad. An over-consumption of these nutrients result in hyperthyroid, insomnia, degeneration of liver, kidneys, nervous system and other vital organs.
- How can one forget the amount of sugar/glucose in energy drinks? The truth of the 'energy' in the energy drink is actually the combination of caffeine and sugar. One serving of an energy drink can contain up to 14 tsp of sugar. That is more than twice the recommended daily dosage. This can help you put enormous weight without you doing anything else.
- While the ill-effects of energy drinks haven't been conclusively proven, doctors and several research experiments have related overdose of energy drinks to heart damage, increase in blood pressure and seizures. There are also conflicting findings whether energy drinks actually help in improving your performance. Some studies did not show any measurable changes in the performance levels between athletes who consumed an energy drink and those who didn't.
- Energy drinks are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unlike other food and medicines.
Alternatives for energy drinks
So, what is a healthy alternative for an energy drink? Firstly, we drink an energy drink when we feel tired or we need to be active. So, how about a green tea? Green tea is not only healthy, but it is also known to have high caffeine content. So, it can keep you active. Green vegetables such as spinach parsley and kale are great sources of B-vitamins. Vegetables in general improves your body metabolism and improves your energy levels.
Fatigue is usually caused by lack of protein. A good protein shake can provide you the required nutrients to keep fatigue at bay. However, don't mix your protein supplements to a shake as it is useless. Also, dehydration causes you to lose electrolytes, which leads to low energy. Hence, drink water at regular intervals.
If you are working out and need an instant boost of energy, you can either consume some glucose or chew an energy bar. But more than any artificial ways of obtaining energy, look for building up your own physical energy naturally. Follow a healthy diet. Do regular exercises that keep your energy up. Certain breathing exercises can be greatly helpful in building up your natural physical energy.
Energy drinks are safe for most people in moderation. However, the truth is that the huge caffeine, sugar and other chemical components, in high quantity, can wreck havoc on your health. Hence, keep the consumption of energy drinks at a minimum level and focus on naturally boosting your physical energy.