With the rising popularity of energy drinks, especially among adolescents, the need of the hour is to throw light on energy drinks as a whole, the side effects of energy drinks being taken into consideration as well.
The concept of energy drinks might not be alien to you if you are into sports or high-intensity workouts or even if you are just an admirer of a pumped-up body and muscle gains.
Energy drinks, all over the world, have emerged as one of the most high-selling beverages and are quite common for use among people, especially sportspersons, all thanks to the hyped-up workout culture.
While energy drinks are claimed to energy and strengthen the immune system there is no denying the fact that they are equally harmful if not consumed in the right quantities and the choice of the right ingredients.
What are Energy Drinks?
The beverages contain stimulant ingredients which are said to boost up your energy and mental performance. They are known to give a sudden boost in energy and also enhance physical performance.
While the composition of every energy drink might be different depending upon the brand.
The most common ingredients which play an integral part in energy boost in nearly all energy drinks are:
It is the primary and the most integral ingredient of all energy drinks. It stimulates brain function, increases alertness, and also works great on concentration. However, the amount of caffeine in different products differs from product to product.
The safe threshold to consume caffeine is taken as 200 mg at a time, no more than twice a day which equals 400 mg in a day.
Caffeine is also considered the prime reason why many energy drinks show dangerous side effects and are considered unsafe to consume, especially by teenagers.
The primary source of calories in energy drinks are sugars which are present in very high amounts.
Some energy drinks are said to have up to 62 grams of sugar or 15.5 teaspoons worth per 16-ounce can. Which can easily reach 250 calories a can.
This amount of calories is very high than the safe intake levels which can lead to various side effects. Although, sugar-free energy drink options are also available these days.
- B- vitamins
B- Vitamins play an important role in converting the food you eat into energy that your body can effectively use for day-to-day functions and working out.
B- complex vitamins are water-soluble so any excess of these is quickly flushed out of your body, so they’re fairly safe.
- Amino acid derivatives
The most common amino acid derivatives in energy drinks are taurine and L-carnitine which are naturally produced by the body and perform biological processes.
These are used to pump up endurance and boost athletic performance, carnitine being especially effective in fat burning.
The safe limit to consume taurine is up to 3,000 mg a day.
Carnitine, on the other hand, only needs to be consumed less than 3 grams a day, more of which can lead to stomach upset and possibly seizures.
Other important ingredients in energy drinks that vary in amounts according to the brand include-
- Artificial sweeteners
Read More: Can You Take Pre Workout twice in one day?
Energy drink vs Electrolyte drink
Electrolyte drinks mainly contain carbohydrates (sugars and glucose) and electrolytes like sodium, potassium, calcium, etc.
The major role of electrolyte drinks is intended towards people who are engaged in high-intensity, strenuous physical activity.
Electrolyte drinks are able to feed muscles and replace chemicals lost during sweating, enabling a person to sustain physical activity for long periods.
These drinks aren’t really considered a wise choice of consumption for children and teens and are best suited as a ‘sometimes’ drink rather than an ‘everyday drink.
However, one can look for natural electrolyte drinks that are way healthier and safer than artificial ones.
Get an insight into some of the healthiest electrolyte drinks
Energy drinks, on the other hand, are drinks that contain different stimulating ingredients that boost energy and endurance and enhance physical performance.
The major ingredient in energy drinks is caffeine that speeds up the central nervous system and also promotes improved mental function.
With energy drinks, the deal is that when the effects of these drinks wear off, so does the person’s energy. For more insight into this, dive into How Long Do Energy Drinks Last?
Energy drinks are not considered safe for consumption due to the high content of caffeine and sugar in them, which in most of cases has crossed the general dosage for consumption.
The side effects of energy drinks are not less when it comes to excessive consumption and may cause cardiac abnormalities, diabetes, mood or behavior disorders, etc.
For those looking for healthier substitutes for energy drinks, natural energy drinks might be a wiser choice for you which can be made right at the comfort of your home with no fear of added preservatives.
Read More: When are Sports Drinks Appropriate for Hydration?
Potential Side Effects of Energy Drinks
- Caffeine intoxication
Consumption of too much caffeine (via any product) can result in acute caffeine intoxication, Which is a condition that leads to people experiencing symptoms like-
- increased heartbeat
Since energy drinks contain a very high amount of caffeine, the feeling of jitteriness and chances of having the potential side effects are much higher.
- Cardiovascular problems
Irregular heartbeat is a common side effect of energy drink consumers and in general, caffeine consumers alike.
As a result, one can experience many minor or major heart problems which, in the long run, may become severe.
So if you choose to drink an energy drink with excessive amounts of this stimulant, you are likely to risk your heart.
- Trouble sleeping
Those who choose to drink energy drinks may have difficulty falling asleep and thus can experience fatigue, lack of motivation, and loss of energy the next day.
Instead of opting for caffeinated options to keep yourself away, know how to stay awake without caffeine and just play it right!
- Men experiencing fertility issues
It’s not always women being the reason for a failed pregnancy. Infertility problems in men are as common as in women.
Excessive amounts of energy drinks consumed by men can lead to challenges in their reproductive function and therefore have difficulty conceiving.
- High blood pressure
In the context of HBP, drinking energy drinks can increase systolic blood pressure within a brief period of time after drinking.
Those with their blood pressure fluctuating now and then, are advised not to consume energy drinks in very heavy amounts.
The same goes for high blood sugar levels, something that diabetics especially need to take care of.
- Cause dental caries
Since energy drinks are often made with very high amounts of sugar and the pH values are below the critical value (5.5), the risk of developing dental erosion increases.
If you are way too much into energy drinks already, put a stop to it right now before your teeth fall off!.
Stimulant Ingredients like caffeine can make acid reflux symptoms flare up. If you are already suffering from heartburn, make sure you do not choose energy drinks as your go-to option.
That burning sensation creeps up slowly but can take severe turns in deteriorating your health if not taken proper precautions.
Recovering from side effects of energy drinks
Here are some quick tips to help you get over all that damage caused by energy drinks. Yes, the side effects are not for life. You can get over them!
- Sorry if you feel heartbroken by this, but do not consume caffeine anymore. Be sure you don’t binge on your usual mid-afternoon chocolate-covered snack bar by mistake.
- Cannot stress this enough, but keep yourself well-hydrated. Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning that you should be drinking more water to make up for the amount of what you’re peeing out.
Get hold of more water-rich fruits and electrolyte foods to recover from dehydration symptoms. Keep a note of your daily optimum intake and follow that.
- If you’re anxious due to the regular consumption of caffeine-loaded energy drinks, chances are that your breathing is fast and shallow.
To recover, take slow, deep, deliberate breaths to bring your breathing back to normal and reduce anxiety
Energy drinks, in all, are best suited if consumed in moderate amounts with a check on the caffeine and sugar content.
Children and teens are strictly advised to stay away from these drinks and opt for healthier options.
If you are a beginner in the world of energy drinks, do not gulp cans on cans of it in one go. Start slow and less and let your body get acquainted with it. Know your capacity and then follow along.