Energy drinks have become increasingly popular amongst the people in the sub-Saharan region of Africa. Energy drinks are intended to boost your energy, alertness and concentration. But then, are Energy Drinks worth taking daily same way you would for a bottle of water?
People of all ages consume them and they continue to grow in popularity. Obviously, they are marketed towards everyone and the BIG QUESTION is are Energy Drinks Healthy?
Athletes drink them for enhanced athletic performance, College students drink them for all night study sessions [even though i would still prefer my raw Nescafe for night study sessions], and working professionals drink them for increased energy as well as helping them stay alert.
But there is a down side towards energy drinks, they are not all they are advertised to be. Of course, they have the ability to transform your exhaustion, but they also have negative effects on your body. But some health professionals have warned that energy drinks may have harmful consequences, which has led many people ask the BIG QUESTION – are Energy Drinks Healthy?
This blog-post weighs the pros and the cons of energy drinks or say the health benefits as well as health risks of energy drinks, providing an extensive review of their health effects. Which in turn can aid in answering the big question – are Energy Drinks Healthy?
What Are Energy Drinks? – Are Energy Drinks Healthy?
Let’s just imagine you’re hearing about energy drinks for the very first time… Energy drinks are produced to increase energy and mental performance. They contain a combination of caffeine, sugar, vitamins, amino acid derivatives and herbal extracts.
Energy drinks are beverages that contain ingredients marketed to increase energy and mental performance. Red Bull, Monster, Bullet and Eviron are examples of popular energy drink products.
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Nearly all energy drinks contain the ingredient caffeine to stimulate brain function and increase alertness and concentration.
However, the amount of caffeine differs from product to product and this is the part most consumers aren’t aware of.
Below are the pros and cons of energy drinks that would help you decide for yourself if energy drinks are good for your health or not:
1) Energy Drinks can help increase brain functionality (Pros)
Interestingly, multiple studies confirm that energy drinks can indeed improve measures of brain function like memory, concentration and reaction time, while also reducing mental fatigue.
In fact, one study, in particular, showed that drinking just one 8.4-ounce (500-ml) can of Red Bull increased both concentration and memory by about 24%… Fascinating right? So with this very first reason it’s safe to say Energy Drinks are healthy right? But hold on keep reading to know more.
2) Energy Drinks pick you up quickly when you’re tired (Pros)
Another good reason people consume energy drinks is that it helps them function when they’re sleep-deprived or tired.
Drivers on long, late-night road trips often reach for energy drinks to help them stay alert while they’re behind the wheel as well as workers that take night-shifts.
Multiple studies using driving simulations have concluded that drinking an energy drink can increase driving quality and reduce sleepiness, even in drivers who are sleep-deprived.
In summary, Energy drinks can help people function while they’re tired, but people may observe decreases in sleep quality following energy drink use.
3) Energy Drinks can lead to heart problems in some consumers (Cons)
Unfortunately, there are also concerns that energy drinks have contributed to heart problems.
A recent study found that at least 17 people developed significant heart problems after energy drink use, which required them to visit the emergency room. Several of the people died from complications.
Furthermore, multiple studies in humans have also shown that consuming energy drinks may increase blood pressure and heart rate and decrease important markers of blood vessel function, which could be bad for heart health.
Most experts believe that heart problems associated with energy drink use occur as a result of excessive caffeine intake.
This seems reasonable, since many of the people who suffered serious heart problems after drinking energy drinks were consuming more than three energy drinks at a time or also mixing them with alcohol.
Although you may need to be cautious about using energy drinks if you have a history of heart disease, consuming them occasionally and in reasonable amounts is unlikely to cause heart problems in healthy adults with no history of heart disease.
4) Mixing Energy Drinks with alcohol poses great health threat (Cons)
Mixing energy drinks with alcohol is incredibly popular among young adults and college students.
However, this presents a major public health concern. The stimulating effects of caffeine in energy drinks can override the depressive effects of alcohol.
Energy drinks mixed with alcohol can leave you feeling less intoxicated while still experiencing alcohol-related impairments. Consuming energy drinks with alcohol is not recommended.
5) Energy Drinks contain Riboflavin (Pros)
This ingredient can treat muscle cramps and blood disorders.
6) Energy Drinks contain Vitamin B and B12 (Pros)
Energy drinks also contain Vitamin B which improves mood and can fight cancer and heart disease.
Vitamin B12 in turn keeps your red blood cells and nerves healthy. Helps regulate the nervous system and maintain a healthy digestive system.
7) Energy Drinks contain lots of Caffeine and Sugar (Cons)
Energy drinks carry a lot of caffeine and sugar. According to fitbug.com, “Energy drinks also have a lot of sugar about the same as a can of coke, or as much as 8-10 teaspoons. While this sugar in combination with the caffeine will increase your blood sugar levels and give you an initial energy burst, this is usually followed by a sudden fall in blood sugar levels, causing a “crash” and you feel tired and lethargic again. “
8) Energy Drinks can be Addictive (Cons)
Excess consumption of Energy Drinks can make you not want to stop having them as usual.
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Ultimately, Energy drinks can deliver on some of their promised benefits by increasing brain function and helping you function when you’re tired or sleep-deprived.
However, there are a number of major health concerns with energy drinks, particularly related to excessive caffeine intake, sugar content and mixing them with alcohol.
Here’s what I would advice; if you choose to drink energy drinks, limit your intake to 16 ounces (473 ml) per day and stay away from “energy shots.”
Additionally, try to reduce your intake of other caffeinated beverages to avoid the harmful effects of too much caffeine. By caffeinated beverages I mean beverages that contain caffeine e.g tea. Some people, including pregnant and nursing women, children and teenagers, should avoid energy drinks altogether.
I hope with the 8 reasons listed above you can now know for sure if Energy Drinks are healthy for you as an individual or not.
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