Energy Drinks: Are they good for me?
When was the last time you had an energy drink? How did you feel? Energy drinks are used as a crutch or a tool to help us get through the day. They are most often described as a "quick fix" - meaning, a few hours after you consume an energy drink you feel even more tired then before you drank it. That is called the crash and burn effect. There is so much caffeine and sugar in those drinks that after your body is through breaking it down, it's exhausted!
Energy drinks contain massive amounts of caffeine, sugar and other stimulants like guarana, ginseng and ephedrine. Most energy drinks contain the same if not more caffeine as a cup of coffee and over 260 calories.
Guarana is actually a fruit that is native to Brazil. The seeds of this fruit contain three times more caffeine then coffee beans. Studies show that this fruit helps to fight fatigue and makes you more alert. However, because of its high level of caffeine, you should exercise caution when taking it. People with certain medical conditions such as anxiety, high blood pressure, insomnia, epilepsy, and kidney disease should consult a physician before consuming it.
Ginseng is an herb known to increase energy, fight fatigue and relieve stress. There are many different versions of ginseng such as American, Chinese and Korean. Ginseng is mainly used in Chinese medicine to help fatigue and improve the memory.
Ephedrine also native to China what used a lot in the past by athletes and for weight loss. It was said to increase strength, power and endurance. However, it has been found that ephedrine has been the cause of headaches, insomnia, and tremors.
Caffeine is commonly used to decrease fatigue, increase alertness and improve muscle coordination. It is not only found in soft drinks but also in chocolate, teas, and prescription drugs. People react differently to caffeine and the amount they can have. If you use too much caffeine for a long period of time it can cause insomnia, muscle twitching, and headaches.
The effects of an energy drink
Everyone responds to caffeine and sugars differently. You should exercise caution when consuming these drinks because they are full of power. Energy drinks have a tendency to increase the heart rate and blood pressure (almost to an uncomfortable level). They also dehydrate you and keep you from getting a sound sleep. Never take an energy drink during or while exercising as it will dehydrate you at a rapid rate. Truthfully, the best way to control your level of energy is by regulating your diet and exercising. Energy drinks are not particularly good for you but it is okay to have one every so often.
Sources: http://www.brown.edu/Student_Services/Health_Services/Health_Education/atod/energydrinks.htm http://altmedicine.about.com/od/completeazindex/a/guarana.htm http://www.energyfiend.com/energy-drink-ingredients/ http://www.higheredcenter.org/pubs/factsheets/energy-drinks.pdf