If you’re feeling tired and need a little more pep in your step to get going, you might grab an energy drink from a gas station or convenience store. Energy drinks are convenient and effective for delivering caffeine to the body, but they also come with risks and potentially negative health consequences.
Here is a look at what typical energy drinks contain, plus alternatives that are safer and more natural for your body.
Common Energy Drink Ingredients
There are hundreds of different energy drinks on the market today, and all of them have different combinations of ingredients to achieve the same effect. Many energy drinks contain artificial sweeteners and flavors to set them apart from other options available.
These beverages have large amounts of caffeine to supply the energy boost, as well as added sugars and legal stimulants. These stimulants may include L-carnitine, taurine, and guarana. Yohimbe, glucuronolactone, ginseng, and B vitamins may be present in energy drinks too.
The Risks of Energy Drinks
Of course, the benefits of energy drinks are that boost of energy that keeps you going on days that you’re especially tired and not feeling like your usual self. The benefits include increased energy, attention, and alertness.
However, there are also risks that come with consuming energy drinks, especially in excess or on a regular basis. The risks are even higher for children and adolescents who use energy drinks, which are recommended against by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Federation of State High School Associations.
Energy drinks can lead to increases in high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, and irregular breathing. They can also cause a person to have greater anxiety, jitteriness, and tremors. People have needed to go to emergency rooms after drinking energy drinks because of dehydration since they don’t contain enough water for healthy functioning. It is common for energy drink usage to lead to insomnia because the brain and body can’t wind down after consuming so many stimulants. College students are sometimes known for drinking energy drinks mixed with alcohol, a practice that can lead to binge drinking, alcohol-related injuries, and impaired judgement.
These beverages often contain more than the maximum amount of added sugar than is recommended for a whole day. Some studies have linked regular energy drink usage to physical and psychological dependence, which can result in withdrawal symptoms if stopped abruptly.
Natural Sources of Energy
If you want to take a more natural approach to fueling your body with energy, there are alternatives to energy drinks that you can focus on. In general, coffee and tea are better and more natural sources of energy than chemically produced energy drinks with long lists of questionable ingredients. With tea, read the labels on the packaging or tea bags because some herbal teas do not contain caffeine.
There are also nutrient-rich foods that supply the body with natural energy, such as yogurt, fresh fruit, and hummus with vegetables. An easy way to get an energy boost in the morning is to make smoothies that contain fruits, oats, nuts, and seeds. Your lifestyle choices also affect your energy levels, so you may need to exercise more, take a power nap, or get outside in the sunshine. Stay hydrated throughout the day by always having a bottle of water on-hand and eat small, healthy snacks every three to four hours for sustained energy. Good snacks to have available include carrots, apples, berries, low-fat Greek yogurt, and unsalted nuts.
Read more about natural energy right here on the Seagate blog: