What is so appealing about energy drinks? In the fast-paced, calendar-packed lives we live, many times we don’t allow ourselves time to unwind, relax and get much needed and rejuvenating sleep. So why do we push ourselves? Is it to keep up with the Jones’s? Is it to get the most out of the 24 hours we have in a day? Or is it to simply outdo the competition? Whatever the motivation for our schedules, many times we reach for assistance to make the “get-up-and-go” possible.
This is where caffeine-packed beverages becomes our #1 go to source for an energy boost, specifically, energy drinks. This method of help has become popular with the younger crowd trying to make their way in college, or in a new job or career and also with the workaholics who spend long hours away from home carving out their niche in the workforce. Or, it can also be of help to someone like me who is not known for being a night owl, but rather an early bird, yet works a third shift job where staying awake after midnight is foreign to the body, but required.
So, what are the pros and cons of drinking energy drinks and do they really help to provide extra energy or is it all psychological?
Let us start with the pluses and minuses…
First, the pluses…
- Energy drinks give you an good energy boost adding to a quick pick me up
- Contains Vitamin B which improves mood and can fight cancer and heart disease…
- B12: keeps red blood cells and nerves healthy and helps to maintain a healthy digestive system.
- B6: helps with cardiovascular, immune and nervous system function
- Niacin: helps relieve arthritis pain and lower lipid levels
- Pantothenic Acid: helps with reducing allergies, stress, anxiety and skin disorders.
- Riboflavin: can help in treating muscle cramps and blood disorders
Now the minuses…
- Energy drinks have a lot of caffeine and sugar (unless you choose the zero sugar option). While the sugar combined with caffeine will give you an initial energy burst, it is usually followed by a sudden drop in blood sugar levels, causing a “crash” and you feel tired and lethargic again.
- Energy drinks are not good prior, during or after exercising. They will cause dehydration and drop in energy.
- Can become addictive, requiring more and more to get the same energy boost
- May cause headaches when withdrawing from caffeine, when you don’t drink regularly
- Insomnia: may cause interruption in normal sleep patterns.
- Jitters: can make you feel jittery and anxious.
- High Blood Pressure: the caffeine has the ability to raise blood pressure.
- Niacin: One of the main ingredients is Niacin. Although niacin has benefits, it can also cause dizziness, and rapid heart rate or palpitations.
Now, with the pros cons listed, do energy drinks really provide the boost we are looking for or are we kidding ourselves? Because of the caffeine and sugar present in the drinks, yes, energy drinks will give you energy, but it will be short lived. Many of the drinks also have other ingredients such as ginseng, ephedrine, creatine and gingko biloba. On their own, they do not provide long lasting boosts of energy, either. When you sum it up, energy drinks do provide energy, but for a short amount of time and the rest is psychological. We think we have more energy because we drank an energy drink.
So the choice to make when choosing a beverage to aid in increasing energy, is to make an informed decision based on research. Review the varieties and brands available. ALWAYS, take the “in moderation” tagline to heart. Excessive consumption of energy drinks can wreak havoc on the body. Research alternative and safe methods to help with increasing energy and talk to your medical provider about your energy levels or lifestyle that may be depleting your energy.
Until we meet again, peace and joy. Deanna