So-called ‘energy drinks’ are very popular, due largely to very successful marketing campaigns by their advertising agencies. These products are heavily promoted at sporting venues and events. They have taken up much of the slack left by bans on alcohol and cigarette advertising.
Through clever and emotive advertising many consumers have been led to believe that drinking energy drinks is a surefire way of boosting one’s energy levels. Very simply stated, this is not untrue. As these drinks contain very large volumes of sugar and caffeine they can provide a quick but very temporary boost of energy.
Of course the downside to drinking these products is not mentioned in the advertising and they are certainly not without side effects. Also, access to these drinks is largely unregulated and they can be obtained almost everywhere, by anyone, including children.
A 16 ounce can of energy drink was found to contain more than 50 grams (2 ounces) of sugar together with 160 mg of caffeine – all these in just a single can. What is even more disturbing is that some consumers don’t stop at just one can and may consume many in the course of a day.
In addition to caffeine and sugar, most energy drinks have also been found to contain ‘guarana’. Guarana is commonly sourced from South America and this plant also has a caffeine compound in the form of ‘guaranine’. When manufacturers include guarana in their energy drinks they do not include its guaranine content in the total caffeine tally listed on the product label. In other words, with caffeine from coffee and guaranine from guarana the product contains even higher levels of caffeine forms than consumers expect.
Dangers of Energy Drinks
Although the ingredients that each energy drink contains may be listed on the labels of the bottle or can, many consumers are unaware of the effects of some of these ingredients.
Another fear that health advocates express about energy drink consumption is the tendency of consumers to drink alcoholic beverages with these energy drinks. Additionally some consumers take pain-relieving drugs in conjunction with these drinks, adding to the chemical cocktail.
When Energy Drinks Lead to Energy Crash
Most people who consume energy drinks believe that it is a good way to replenish the body’s lost fluids while also getting the energy boost that they need. Whether it is during athletic events, exercise programs or just when they need a ‘pick-me-up’. However these types of drinks do not rehydrate the body the same way water or a basic electrolyte replacer does.
Firstly, the caffeine content is a diuretic which acts on the kidneys to increase urination, robbing the body of fluids it claims to provide. If it is being used as a sports drink, this is exactly the time the body needs extra fluids to support physical exertion.
Secondly, the very high sugar content will set off an elevated insulin response, resulting in a sugar slump soon after which will cause feelings of fatigue. This will have many people reaching for another and so setting up a cycle, where thirst is not truly quenched and energetic feelings are very temporary. The extra drinks will add to symptoms of excess caffeine consumption including headaches, chest pain and increased pulse rate.
So next time you are thirsty and feeling fatigued, reach for a drink of water and rehydrate your body!
To boost your energy throughout the day, have some filling and delicious bowl of Santé FibrEnergy.