Many of us adults require an instant boost of energy during the day. This can be during the early mornings or even in the middle of the day. Students hard at work pulling all-nighters may need energy that lasts for the next 4 hours to function. Yawning and having a pile of paperwork to check needs significant energy levels too. Whilst some people will turn to coffee to get their energy fix, others aren’t so keen. This is where energy drinks can come in to play as an alternative choice to a hot caffeinated drink, but are these energy drinks actually good for you? After all, we know drinking lots of coffee isn’t really that great for us, so what about energy drinks? What do they contain and what are the pros and cons?
While energy drinks do manage to liven up our senses somewhat, they may have drawbacks too. They can prove to put us at risk as well as have some supposed benefits. Fortunately, we have compiled a set amount of advantages and disadvantages of energy drinks so you can begin to make an informed choice about whether they are right for you. First, we have to learn what they are and how they are made.
What are energy drinks?
Energy drinks are not just made to taste good but also have a function. They contain key ingredients such as a significant amount of caffeine to energise us. The rest of the ingredients are a mix of natural ingredients or acids such as Carnitine. A drink doesn’t need to have several ingredients to do the job. A higher concentration of a few can equally be just as effective. The formula depends on the company that is manufacturing these drinks of which there are a few.
After the formula is finalised then these drinks go into the production process. The packaging material is produced and the drinks are to be packaged. Once packaged the fluids are then to be sealed. This is done by capping machines often supplied by reliable capping machine manufacturers. Once the product is finalised then the marketing is conducted to grow a market. The marketing focuses on the energy tendencies but could also focus on unique selling points. These could be how the drink bottle is recyclable afterwards or through unique bottle decoration ideas.
Energy drinks are commonly marketed with claims like "increases metabolism," "improves exercise performance," and "gives you wings."
What are the advantages of energy drinks?
Now that we know what energy drinks are and how they are made. It is time to check the benefits that drinking them provides us. Here are a few of them.
Some energy drinks offer upwards of 300mg of caffeine. In comparison, coffee offers up to 80mg of caffeine. The significant amount of caffeine means that we get an instant boost to our energy levels. Apart from caffeine, sugar is also abundant in energy drinks. The combination of these two allows your body and mind to wake up quickly.
This means going through the day is that much easier. Hard to do tasks will no longer be hindered by lower energy levels. You may have the energy to complete more tasks during the day and at night.
Students that suffer from a short attention span or have an exam the next day can benefit. The influx of energy levels will help them focus more on the source material at hand. They can pull in long hours of studying without feeling tired. Having an energy drink before an exam could potentially enhance brain performance too.
Better gym performance
Many who exercise could do with an energy drink before or after the session. Having one before could mean getting in that one extra push-up at the end of the workout. Similarly, having an energy drink after may lead to faster levels of regaining energy.
Once you have more energy for the day, your mood is bound to improve as well. Having more energy is directly proportional to a better mood too. That means you may have better mornings and content afternoons after an energy drink.
What are the disadvantages of energy drinks?
Energy drinks provide us with a momentous addition of energy for the day, but at what cost?
Bad sleep cycle
Having an energy drink or two at random times may ruin the sleep cycle your body is used to. Having one at 8 pm might have lasting effects up till 8 am. This means you would be going to sleep late and waking up later too. This is detrimental to our health and also our productivity levels throughout the day. So in a way, these drinks may actually lead to lower energy levels in the long term.
High sugar levels
A high sugar content provides energy but can be very dangerous for our health too. If sugar is taken in large amounts then that can lead to diabetes. Those who are already at risk of diabetes can suffer greatly from energy drinks. Similarly, sugar can be detrimental to our teeth too. This means after some time you may have dental issues too. The rush you feel when you have a large hit of sugar is short-lived and these short term gains should not be sacrificed for our long term health.
High caffeine levels
Yep, OK, so we mentioned this in pros too. If you’re getting an energy drink then it’s probably the exact reason you want one, for the burst of energy from an overload of caffeine. Whilst energy drinks do perform, it’s not actually good for your body to have such huge hits of caffeine. ‘Large amounts of caffeine may cause serious heart and blood vessel problems such as heart rhythm disturbances and increases in heart rate and blood pressure.’ Source.
One of the biggest drawbacks is the addictive tendencies these drinks have. They can prove to become for many individuals especially teenagers. If addicted, these people may find themselves suffering from significant health problems. These problems include weight gain and cardiovascular risks.
Some people do not get along well when drinking energy drinks and suffer side effects. The most common side effects from drinking energy drinks are headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea or stomachache. Some people also experience a feeling of chest tightness or trouble breathing. If you experience any side effects then stop drinking the energy drink immediately.
There is a large body of evidence that supports the idea that energy drinks can cause anxiety and increase feelings of depression in some people.
Some people experience more anxiety than others, but it is unclear how or why some people are more sensitive to energy drinks than others. It is clear that caffeine in the drink only contributes to these feelings of anxiety and can lead to increased dependency on such drinks for mental stability.
So should we drink energy drinks?
Energy drinks have their fair share of benefits and drawbacks. They can have profound benefits for people who need a boost to function for the day. Yet, they have diminishing effects in the long run for many individuals. It is up to you to judge whether you need the boost or not. If you are at greater risk, we recommend other methods.
There are alternate and healthier drinks available too. Why not get used to the flavour of green tea instead which can provide steady energy through the day as well as lots of health benefits? Or, if you must choose energy drinks, you can now find a range of natural energy drinks that do not contain large amounts of sugar or questionable ingredients.