Energy drinks are no substitute for proper nutrition and sleep
Energy drinks are no substitute for proper nutrition and sleep SHANNON SIMMONS July 24, 2008
Question: I am wondering if caffeinated energy drinks are bad for me. I drink at least two orthree a day.
Answer: There are many popular energy drinks with the most common currently beingMonster, Rockstar and Red Bull.
This is outside of the many other caffeinated coffee drinks that are available at your localcoffee shop or grocery store. There is even an entire Web site named www.Taurenrules.comthat ranks the (hundreds) of sugar free energy drinks.
Other than caffeine, taurine is the main ingredient in most energy drinks. It is an amino acidthat your body naturally produces. It has been studied to regular heart rate, musclecontractions and energy levels.
However, your body has been shown to produce enough on its own and you do not need tosupplement with it. Only when you are in a state of illness of extreme stress can your body'sproduction slow down.
Supplementation can help with mental alertness and its benefits might only come whencombined with other stimulants such as caffeine.
It is common for young and older people alike become addicted or wanting these types ofdrinks.
When you are low on energy after a long night of playing, partying or studying, it is sometimeseasier to grab an energy drink than get a few more hours of sleep.
Caffeine has been study relentlessly by the Gatorade Sport Science Institute and they havefound that it can improve mental and physical alertness and performance.
Of course, caffeine can be very bothersome to those with intolerance and can cause a rapidheart rate, loss of sleep, anxiety and even a slump in energy when the caffeine effects wane.
With caffeine being the main ingredient in many energy drinks, you have to be careful howmuch you drink and for what reasons.
If you are finding that you are drinking caffeinated drinks often to make up for lack of sleep orproper nutrition, than you are asking for an eventual crash and burn.
Your body needs adequate sleep (seven to eight hours a night) and a healthy, well-balanceddiet to maintain immune function and energy balance.
When you are lacking in your diet or sleep, you often go for something with caffeine. That canhelp you in a physical or mental competition (think 5K or an exam), but it is done over and overthroughout the day and into weeks; you will suffer an energy crash.
Monster has become the most popular drink available. There are 300 calories in a regularbottle; much more than one should consume in a beverage!
So be very careful on the caloric amount in your energy drinks. There was even a study in thePacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition stating that energy drinks could be contributing to theobesity epidemic through a high amount of ingested excess calories.
Also, be conscious of the marketing strategies that these companies use. Monster, along withRockstar and Red Bull, have shown up everywhere as sports sponsors. You might not realizethat they are targeting you and it would be wise to research their side effects and actualresults. In the American Journal of College Health they cited that the longer a man wasinvolved in sports (labeled a jock in their study) the more energy drinks they consumed.
There has even been research on newly developed seizures in adults from consumption ofenergy drinks.
Many people have reported having dizzy spells and a rapid heart rate after drinking thesetypes of drinks. If you have a history of heart disease/failure it is not recommended to drinkstimulants as this can cause an irregular or rapid heart beat.
If you need more energy, try to eat welland get some sleep and then try a natural drink such ascoffee. If that doesn't do it, then reach for a low-calorie energy drink. Try to only have one — orless — per day.
Shannon Simmons has a masters degree in exercise science and health promotion and is acertified personal trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2000. E-mail herat [email protected].
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