We’ve all seen them prominently advertised in magazines and on the huge posters at the local convenience store, and most of us have been tempted to get that quick fix on days we feel sluggish and unmotivated. The sad truth is that the ingredients in most energy drinks do more long term harm than good. Here is a breakdown:
Caffeine: A 12-ounce can of the average energy drink contains 70-100mg of caffeine which is equivalent to two sodas or two 6-ounce cups of coffee. This chemical is a diuretic that strips the body of fluid along with essential nutrients like calcium and can be a factor in osteoporosis. Caffeine also causes the heart to abnormally increase, produces unnatural production of dopamine (a happy brain chemical) and suppresses adenosine (the natural sleepy brain chemical). Once these wear off the sluggish and sleepy feelings return and you are tempted to down another drink – repeating this unhealthy cycle. Guarana is a common ingredient in energy drinks and also contains caffeine.
Sugar: Most energy drinks labeled as light contain sugar or more worryingly high fructose corn syrup, and adds hundreds of empty calories to your diet. This sweetener has been linked to Type 2 diabetes and with regular use can cause weight gain even in those that engage in regular exercise.
Taurine, and B Vitamins: Taurine causes the movement of potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium into and out of cells and over-stimulates nerve signals. B Vitamins are important for many functions of the body but too much vitamin B can cause nausea, gout, hypothyroidism, insomnia or reduced insulin release, among other side effects.
For lasting energy and good health drink plenty of pure water and natural fruit juices.