If you’ve thought of using energy drinks to boost your performance in the gym or even on the job, you should probably check to see if they’re bad for you or a healthy option based on the ingredients. Do they work and why? One reason that these drinks may work is the contents of not only caffeine, but also sugar. Some energy drinks actually contain as much as 13.5 teaspoons of sugar. When you consider that men should have no more than 9 teaspoons of added sugar and women should have no more than 6 teaspoons, it’s a lot.
All that extra sugar isn’t healthy, but some energy drinks have redeeming qualities.
Spiking your sugar levels intentionally is never a healthy option. Many of these energy drinks are nothing more than soft drinks without the fizz and predispose you to roller coaster blood sugar levels. Some energy drinks contain other ingredients, like taurine, that improves the flow of the blood to the heart. That can help improve oxygen levels, which helps all parts of the body. During exercise, your body creates less taurine, so the energy drink can help replace it.
Energy drinks aren’t only for the physical boost.
They can provide a mental boost as well. Various studies show that energy drinks can improve your brain functioning and increase your mental alertness. It can help memory, reaction time, reduce mental fatigue and even improve concentration. One study showed that consuming an 8.4 ounce can of a popular energy drink—Red Bull—improved the concentration and memory of subjects by approximately 25%.
There are better ways to boost your energy level and mental stamina.
Energy drinks cost more, particularly those sold in health food stores. You don’t have to pay for all the extra nutrients, especially if you’re eating healthy. When you have a healthy diet, your body doesn’t require all the extra nutrients, so in most cases you’ll be flushing them out with your urine. Save money and opt for a cup of coffee or tea a half hour to an hour before your workout and then stick with water. If you’re considering energy drinks for mental alertness, try an eight ounce glass or bottle of water first. You’ll be surprised at how energized you feel.
- Some energy drinks contain a variety of ingredients that are beneficial, such as B-vitamins, small amounts of A, C and E and other nutrients.
- Many times people lack energy because they’re dehydrated and energy drinks help hydrate them. Water is better and has no side effects. If you hate drinking plain water, try infused or lightly flavored water.
- If you’re sensitive to caffeine, don’t drink energy drinks, since almost all contain it. Instead, grab a tall bottle of water that will also boost your energy level. Even if you’re not sensitive to caffeine, use water only during a workout.
- Stay away from energy drinks if you’re trying to lose weight. A 16-ounce can of Monster Energy Drink has 210 calories. Choose a healthy snack and water a half hour before you workout.
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