Archive for the tag - energy drinks

The Downside Of Energy Drinks…

rugbycroppedEnergy drinks are more popular than ever, especially among athletes. In fact, more than 50% of athletes report consuming energy drinks before training or competitions. The belief is that these energy drinks can give athletes a competitive edge.

But is it true? And what are the side effects?

To answer those questions, researchers from Camilo José Cela University published a four-year study that evaluated the pros and cons of energy drinks on athletes. Top athletes from various sports consumed either three energy drinks or three energy drink placebos before competitions. Using GPS, dynamometers and potentiometers, researchers evaluated performance.

According to the data, energy drinks do have a significant positive impact on performance. Overall, athletes were typically able to boost performance by 3% - 7%. They ran further, jumped higher and had more endurance. In competitions where fractions of a second make the difference between winning and losing, the findings are notable.

But it wasn’t all good news. Post competition, athletes who consumed the energy drinks reported higher levels of insomnia, nervousness and stimulation. These side effects are typical for any caffeinated beverage.

It’s also worth noting that energy drinks don’t provide energy. Energy is often measured in calories. One calorie can raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius at sea level. In that sense, energy drinks don’t have any more “energy” than other soft drinks. However, due to the concentration of caffeine, energy drinks have an energizing effect.

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Are Energy Drinks Bad for You?

Energy drinks like Red Bull and Monster have become increasingly popular - especially among adolescents. You’ll see the high-adrenaline advertisements everywhere - and, since energy drinks are still new to the market, much of the marketing is ahead of the science.

It all begs the question: Are energy drinks bad for you?

The FDA limits the caffeine in a can of soda to 65 mg. The FDA does not, on the other hand, regulate caffeine levels in energy drinks - many of which have as many as 280 mg of caffeine per serving. It’s worth noting that healthy adults are advised to stay below 300 - 500 mg of caffeine per day.

Though caffeine isn’t extremely dangerous in-and-of-itself, it can increase anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, muscle tremors and stomach problems.

Energy drinks also contain generous amounts of sugar - which none of us need.

While the occasional energy drink isn’t terrible, experts warn that these drinks should not be combined with alcohol. The stimulating effects of caffeine combined with the intoxicating effects of alcohol is like driving a car and putting one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake.

Many experts also advise refraining from energy drinks prior to intensive workouts due to the strain they place on the body.

As energy drinks are still quite new to the market, they are still largely untested and unregulated. Exercise caution when including these drinks in your diet - and please do so in moderation.