What’s in that Energy drink?

More and more people are drinking “energy” drinks for pre-workout pickups, the morning after a heavy night on the drink, or just as a pickup during the day.
But what’s really inside these drinks?
CAFFEINE
Jump starts the nervous system, helping to kick the body and brain into gear.
The energy boost is short-term. Caffeine is a stimulant and addictive, therefore people will often follow the first drink with more, to keep the stimulant effect. This can lead to dehydration, lack of appetite, and irritability.
TAURINE
Increases Awareness and energy levels.
Combined with caffeine it will provide a boost, but some studies have found it raises blood pressure and heart rate.
B VITAMINS
These essential vitamins helps your body convert energy from food, and will help your body burn fat.
Your body will absorb some of the B Vitamins from drinks, but most will be urinated out. B rich foods like green vegetables, cheese and whole grains are better, sustainable options.
SUGAR
Most energy drinks contain sugar in one or more forms, and often in the largest quantities. Will provide a short term energy boost, due to the quick release of the sugar.
Most people consume too much sugar as it is! You will get a huge blood sugar spike and then crash resulting in an energy slump shortly after. This often resolves in a further sugar fix to pick you back up again. As well as tooth enamel damage, excess sugar can lead to fat gain and possibly diabetes.
GUARANA
Said to improve concentration, aid weight loss and enhance your mood.
It’s just caffeine in a different form.
GINKGO BILOBA
Improves circulation to the brain, heightening awareness.
Studies go back and forth over it’s possible benefits. At least it is safe with few proven side affects.
L-CARNITINE
An Amino acid which is said to take the fat out of your blood, improve circulation and help with fatigue.
Often used as a supplement for those with heart disease. Never really been proven to affect energy levels though.
CoENZYME Q-10
Produces ATP, your bodies immediate energy source for body cells.
Quite expensive still, and although it does create ATP, whether this is enough for an “energy lift”

Like anything, in moderation these drinks are acceptable if you do need an immediate energy, awareness lift. But if you do, go for the sugar free versions.

Alternatively, drink 1.5 – 3 litres of water a day, keep eating every 3-4 hours, choosing low GI foods, protein rich foods, and those with B vitamins, and you shouldn’t need a daily fix of energy.
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