Despite an explosion in time saving technology, we seem to be busier than ever and more tired than ever. There are all sorts of products on the market that claim to boost your levels of energy to help you get through the day. Some of these so called ‘energy’ drinks even claim to give you wings… Energy drinks contain a host of ingredients, the most common being caffeine, guarana, taurine and sugar. We’re all familiar with these drinks, but the question is, do they really work? And if so, just how good or bad for your health are they?
Taking a closer look at the ingredients suggests that energy drinks could really work, but only if you use them sparingly.
Most energy drinks have as much sugar as a can of soft drink. Sugar provides the body with an essential source of energy – glucose. Together with fat, glucose is a primary sources of energy. In fact, glucose is your brain’s preferred sources of energy. Without it you’ll feel sluggish and unable to focus.
Guarana is a herb that’s added to energy drinks because of its high caffeine content. Some energy drinks contain twice the amount of caffeine found in a shot of espresso and about 10 teaspoons of sugar – so it’s no surprise that you’ll get a fast increase in mental acuity after just one can.
Many energy drinks also contain Taurine; a substance that is essential for muscle contraction and has various roles in the brain and nervous system.
The combination of these ingredients is not yet understood, but we do know that they can cause irritability, dizziness, anxiety, heart palpitations and dehydration – none of which are much good for mental clarity and alertness, especially in times of stress or fatigue! What this means is that you can use energy drinks occasionally to provide a short term boost, but you should avoid having them too regularly. I’d also stay away from alcohol and energy drink cocktails…. but that’s a whole new post in itself.
Energy drinks may provide you with a boost, but they are not the solution to having more energy in the long term. For more energy every day, nothing beats a healthy diet with lots of fruit, vegetables and water to keep you hydrated, plenty of sleep and a good dose exercise.