“Feeling low on energy? Grab an energy drink!”
You might have come across numerous commercials on TV and online which reveals that an energy drink is all you need to make your day. It gives you an instant boost of energy and helps you to kickstart your day on a healthy note. And this is the reason why most often than not, we do not think twice before falling to these tall claims.
But coming to reality, are energy drinks good for the health? Are these drinks safe? How often should you grab an energy drink? How much is too much of these drinks? And so on and so forth. So if you do have a lot of questions regarding energy drinks and its effects on the health, then you need to read this article. And even if you have come across this term “energy drinks” for the first time and are wondering what it means, then here’s all you need to know.
What Are Energy Drinks?
As the name suggests, the main purpose of energy drinks is to energize you. The primary ingredient of most of the energy drinks is caffeine, which is known for its refreshing pick-me-up qualities. Energy drinks stimulate the central nervous system and provide you with the necessary kick to refresh and revitalize your senses and keep you going. Other than caffeine, the other ingredients that are commonly found in energy drinks these also include ginseng, Vitamin B, sugar, taurine, green tea extracts, guarana, green coffee extract, ginkgo biloba, and carnitine. Energy drinks are currently widely available in all parts of the world. However, these might have a negative impact on health, especially if taken on a regular basis due to the high content of caffeine and sugar.
Potential Harmful Effects of Energy Drinks
Energy drinks are acclaimed to provide an instant boost to a drained-out body. People either consume energy drinks to build up the drained energy or to get an energy boost by often taken it in combination with alcohol. However, this is not a good idea as researches have proved that combining energy drinks with alcohol worsens the effect. Moreover, caffeine which is the key ingredient in energy drinks can keep the mind alert and active. But if taken in excess it can mess up with the chemicals in the brain and may lead to serious, long-term complications on the nervous system such as irritability, confusion, headaches, and hallucinations. Hence, it is advised to not take caffeine and drinks rich in this ingredient in excess for overall health. It is advised that one should consume less than 300 mg of caffeine but the limit to tolerate caffeine varies from person to person which can range up to 500 mg.
The long-term effects of energy drinks are still unknown. The potential dangers of excessive consumption of energy drinks are:
– Caffeine overdose can lead to many serious health conditions which include nausea, vomiting, palpitations, and an increase in blood pressure. In-utero effects of caffeine overdose include impaired cardiovascular and nervous system.
– Energy drinks possess high sugar content. Moreover, due to the chilled serving of energy drinks, the consumption is faster than a traditional coffee. This makes the caffeine and sugar to quickly get absorbed into the bloodstream and reach the heart. The bloodstream absorbs more amount of sugar in the process causing potential damage to the blood vessels and the heart.
-In pregnant women, caffeine may not cause congenital disabilities, but it can increase the risk of health complications and miscarriages. Moreover, it is also found to impact the overall growth and development of the fetus, leading to an underweight baby. In women of reproductive age and trying to conceive, it can delay the chances of pregnancy.
-Excessive caffeine in energy drinks can lead to poor dental conditions. This is because these products have a higher acid content which can impact the tooth enamel and dissolve it, thereby increasing the risk of cavities, corroded enamel, and damaged teeth.
The Benefits of Energy Drinks
There might be a question popping up in your mind if all the energy drinks are about caffeine. Well not exactly because there are other ingredients in these drinks which have a good impact on the body. The effects of the other commonly used ingredients in energy drinks are as follows:
Ginseng: It is an herb that can stimulate the mental and physical health of a body. It plays a major role in defeating fatigue.
Vitamin B: It helps with the proper and smooth functioning of the body by converting the food we consume into the fuel and thus, helping the body to regulate the metabolic processes and various mechanisms in the body.
Sugar: It can provide an immediate energy boost to the body and uplifts your physical and mental stamina.
Green Tea Extracts: The antioxidants present in them are highly beneficial for lowering the risks of some cancers and brain-related diseases.
Green Coffee Extract: It is known to have many benefits such as controlling blood pressure and reducing weight.
Ginkgo Biloba: It is known to improve the cognitive function and thus, exert a positive effect on the brain.
Carnitine: It transports fatty acids to the mitochondria thus, helping to provide energy to the body.
Given the fact that energy drinks have negative effects on the body, it is important to weigh its pros and cons before using these drinks. Also, remember that moderation is the key. So do not make it a habit to load on these drinks on a daily basis. It is important to note that the best and the healthiest way to load up your energy and improve the overall functioning of the throughout the day is with a proper diet and a healthy lifestyle.
With the fast-paced lifestyle, take care of your body in the best way possible. Do not forget to check the ingredients and their ratio before selecting the best energy drink. When in doubt, always consult your family physician, nutritionist or doctor for the best possible advice on your health. You can also write to us by commenting in the comments section below and we will be more than happy to answer your queries regarding the same. Stay Healthy, Stay Happy!
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Lalit Kanodia, General Physician)
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