Energy drinks are a popular way for college students to quickly get energy before class. But what are they doing to their health?
The energy drink business is booming. This extremely lucrative industry features catchy names, colorful cans, extreme advertisements and a variety of bold flavors. Quickly replacing coffee as the go-to drink of choice for teenagers, college students and young adults, these drinks promise hours of improved focus and enhanced energy. However, they provide those effects by using extremely high doses of caffeine and filling them with sugar - both of which can have very negative ramifications to your health. Plus, caffeine and sugar have both been proven to work for a limited period of time, before wearing off and causing crashes and fatigue, which is contrary to the reason you consumed the drink in the first place! Here are five reasons why energy drinks are the worst focus and energy supplement:
Too Much Caffeine According to research done by the Mayo Clinic, the average human adult should only ingest a maximum of 300-400 milligrams of caffeine per day. Cola beverages have about 40 mg of caffeine per can, and your typical cup of coffee has about 90-150 mg of caffeine. Your average energy drink, however, has over 150 mg of caffeine PER CAN, with some having as much as 240 milligrams of caffeine in a 16 ounce can! Consuming two cans of energy drinks is roughly the equivalent of drinking 5-7 cups of coffee, which exceeds the recommended daily limit of 400 mg of caffeine.
So Sugary Another reason why energy drinks are bad for focus and energy is because of all the added sugar included to hide the bitter taste of the caffeine. The World Health Organization recommends that adults should only have 25-40 grams of sugar per day maximum, and those sugar grams should be absorbed from natural sources like fruit. An average energy drink has 150-250 of calories from sugar. Research shows that 1 gram of sugar is roughly 4 calories, which means that a typical energy drink can has almost your entire daily maximum sugar intake. That's equivalent to 10 teaspoons of sugar!
Don't Even Work The Department of Exercise Science at Creighton University decided to test the claims of the popular energy drink Red Bull, seeing how it worked to enhance athletic performance. This randomized, double-blind, crossover study of seventeen college-aged men yielded results that suggested there was no improvement or enhancement of their athletic performance. A second double-blind, randomized crossover study by the Utah State University also determined that caffeine-based drinks did NOT enhance the performance of 20 NCAA football players who participated in the experiment.
Sleep Slips Away Studies have shown that regular energy drink consumption can disrupt sleep patterns and cause insomnia. The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research analyzed the connection between their use and sleep problems among service members. They found that the 44% of deployed service members who regularly drank at least one energy drink per day were more likely to sleep less than 4 hours per night, as well as be more likely to experience stress, fatigue and depression. The service members felt they needed to compensate for this fatigue by increasing consumption, which caused a vicious cycle of caffeine abuse because of the harsh effects of caffeine withdrawal.
They're Health Supplements, NOT Beverages Energy drinks are not even beverages as we think of them. They are technically defined as dietary supplements, like vitamins, instead of an actual drink, allowing for less regulation on the industry. They were originally intended to be used as a health supplement, with regimented use similar to other focus and energy supplements and vitamins. However, marketing and advertising companies quickly realized the potential to market to teenager and young adult males who were steering away from traditional soda beverages. They are intended to provide an increase in focus and energy, not be a refreshing beverage to quench thirst.
Energy drinks are an extremely unsustainable way to improve focus and energy, and are not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. They have lots of calories that negate the benefits of exercise, contain extremely high doses of caffeine that can cause health problems, and as research has shown, really don't even work as intended. Many students, athletes and service members have switched to using cognitive supplements to increase their focus and energy. Cognitive supplements are traditional dietary supplements, either in pill or capsule form, that combine natural herbs and vitamins to achieve very powerful improvements in focus, energy and mental performance, without using caffeine or sugar. These energy drink replacements are quickly catching on with mainstream consumers because they provide the positive effects with no calories, negative side effects, or caffeine withdrawal symptoms. If you a focus and energy product consumer, you may want to consider substituting your beverage for a natural cognitive supplement.