Many are replacing their morning cup of joe with a can of their favorite energy drink, but this small swap may be causing big problems.
Although energy drinks can provide a temporary jolt to the system, the long-term effects may surprise you.
Some energy drinks have as much sugar and three times the caffeine as your average soda, and some experts credit the rise in popularity to their addictiveness. Four countries - France, Denmark, Norway, and Argentina - have banned the sale of energy drinks with their current levels of caffeine.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the amount of caffeine necessary to produce dependency is about 100 milligrams a day. An 8-ounce cup of coffee has between 100 and 150 milligrams. Depending on the size, one can of energy drink contains between 80 and 200 milligrams. It’s difficult to tell though, since that information doesn't appear on cans.
Although the addictive properties of the caffeine in energy drinks can be similar to coffee and soda, energy drinks may now be putting you at risk for more than just a caffeine addiction.
Some of those risks are:
Energy drinks may contain vitamins and supplements along with other ingredients that may be harming your health. Those potentially harmful ingredients include; sucrose, glucose, citric acid, sodium chloride, asorbic acid, ephedrine, and ginseng.
Potential side effects depend on the drink. Many drinks contain a high percentage of carbohydrates. This can make it harder to absorb food and nutrients into your bloodstream, so your energy boost may not be as intense. Excess carbohydrates also can cause some gastrointestinal problems especially if you drink one right before intense exercise.
Sugar causes your energy levels or insulin levels to plummet after the sugar leaves your bloodstream. Those energy drinks with sugar overload are good for that short-term buzz, but many people feel more fatigued than they were to before their first swig.
It’s not just what’s in the drinks but the amount that are being consumed. If a can is actually 2 servings or if multiple are consumed in a day, that will increase the risks immensely.
There are better ways to boost your energy. For example, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet can eliminate the need for added energy supplements. Often eating a piece of fruit like an apple will give you the boost you need to get through that afternoon lull. Even drinking enough water will give you energy and leave you feeling hydrated.
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Last updated July 2014
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