Studying energy drink effects is becoming increasingly prominent given consumers seemingly have an unquenchable thirst for them.
Research indicates the US energy drink market will be worth over 20 billion dollars by 2017. Energy drinks are particularly popular among a younger demographic, with 30% to 50% of adolescents and young adults consuming them regularly.
Americans and younger people, it seems, love a quick burst of energy that lifts them through an afternoon slump or provides a pick-me-up ahead of strenuous activity. But, for all the hype surrounding them, energy drinks also carry some health concerns.
While there is limited research on the long-term health implications of regular intake of energy drinks, these flavored beverages are loaded with ingredients that, when consumed excessively, generate negative side effects.
Ingredients such as large amounts of caffeine and sugar, for example, contribute to the negative effects with a surge, spike, and profound dip in performance and even mood. There are also many misconceptions about these products’ effectiveness in boosting athletic performance.
Let’s get to the bottom of the truth about energy drink effects.
Other than high concentrations of sugar and caffeine, energy drinks can possess high levels of stimulants such as Guarana, Carnitine, and Taurine.
Generally, when you see Guarana listed as an energy drink ingredient, it can be read as ‘even more caffeine’. This South American fruit, in fact, contains twice the caffeine levels of coffee beans.
Carnitine, meanwhile, can be used to spur weight loss by acting as an appetite suppressant. Studies have linked supplemental use to hardened arteries and cardiovascular disease.
Taurine, which like Carnitine is also a naturally occurring amino acid, can improve liver and brain functions. Taurine supplementation, however, can limit metabolic efficiency and put a strain on your kidneys.
Some energy drinks also contain excessive amounts of sodium, which has negative impacts on blood pressure and heart health.
It’s a concoction of supplements that can make the head spin, literally. Ever felt jittery or restless after consuming an energy drink? Now, you know why.
An instant spark of energy delivered via a can, energy drinks are easily accessible and increasingly affordable due to more competition in the market.
Put simply, they are convenient.
It’s quicker and easier to reach for a can of artificial stimulants than to brew a healthy green tea or add water to a concentrated serving of nutrition found in all-natural products like BeetBoost.
But, the health benefits and performance-boosting powers of the latter two options are worth the additional labor – even though there really isn’t much work involved.
There is an inherent contradiction in using energy drinks for the purpose of boosting athletic performance. This stems from the high amounts of caffeine or equivalent stimulants present in energy drinks that have a dehydrating effect on the body.
Given strenuous exercise will only deprive the body of more fluids, combining these activities with consumption of energy drinks can only lead to more severe dehydration.
Many will associate an almost immediate increase in alertness and activity after consuming energy drinks as a link to improved performance; there is no scientific evidence to back that up.
If opting to consume energy drinks, read the can closely and know the risks. Sure, they have a stimulating effect, but at what cost to your health?
Clearly more research is needed on energy drink effects on health. In the meantime, there are clear risks associated with regular consumption of their ingredients.
It is safer to opt for energizers that are 100% natural, with proven benefits on health and performance. Making a healthy drink your body’s preferred fuel eliminates the doubt surrounding the impact of energy drinks on your health.
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