Energy drinks are liquid soda-style beverages that are boosted by the inclusion of ‘energy boosting’ ingredients including sugar, caffeine and other caffeine-like substances like ephedrine, and guarana. Some energy drinks also have vitamins, “acid stabilizers” or other nutritious-sounding ingredients, too. With all of these ingredients one might well ask whether energy drinks can help you achieve your weight loss goals by giving you the boost you need to exercise consistently.
Red Bull, Jolt, Amp and Hype are four of the more commonly known energy drinks. Energy drinks themselves are classified as “functional beverages” which means that they do not form part of the bigger nutraceutical food or dietary supplement industry. So because energy drinks are not classified as either a food or a dietary supplement, they are not regulated nor monitored by the Food and Drug Administration.
The aim of energy drinks is to boost your energy for physical activity and to improve your ability to concentrate on a specific task. Many believe these drinks can provide the energy they need to perform their exercise routine. But whatever you do, you should not confuse energy drinks with sports drinks. Sports drinks are specially formulated to help provide energy to tired muscles and to help the body absorb water and glucose (sugar) – energy drinks are not designed to do this.
While sports drinks are at their most beneficial if your workout is going to exceed an hour or so, plain water is generally a preferred option for quenching your thirst and replenishing your body fluid. Energy drinks, on the other hand, dehydrate rather than hydrate so this is why they are not designed for assistance with sports, but rather just to give you that quick energy-based pick me up.
While many people might claim that energy drinks are good for you if you are playing sports, the truth is that they are good for short bursts of activity and mental alertness only. It is vital that if you are consuming energy drinks that you know what you are drinking. Energy drinks are not necessarily bad for you, but they shouldn’t be seen as natural substitutes for health supplements either. Some of the marketing for energy drinks claim that they “improve performance” and can be misleading because essentially all you are doing is over stimulating your body with caffeine.
There is not very much that is currently known about energy drinks and the effects that their consumption can have on a person’s overall health and wellbeing. The creators, manufacturers and marketers of energy drinks will tell you about the numerous health effects of their products. Their messages will tell you that these products can increase your physical endurance, improve your reaction times, boost your mental alertness and concentration, increase your overall wellbeing, stimulate and even speed up your metabolism, improve your stamina and help eliminate waste from your body.
Ideally, energy drinks should not be used by someone exercising for a sustained period of time because the combination of fluid loss from sweating and the diuretic quality of the caffeine can leave the drinker feeling severely dehydrated at a time when their body needs to be replenished with fluids.
So, what is the deal with energy drinks and why are they so popular? Well quite simply, if you manage your consumption at only one or two a day, then energy drinks won’t harm you and in fact can help you improve your day-to-day activities. Their super-concentrated stimulating ingredients will indeed wake you up and help you to improve the way that you conduct and perform simple mental tasks. There is plenty of sugar and caffeine in energy drinks though, so you should be sure that you minimize your consumption to one or two drinks a day at the most. Any more and you could well experience side effects.