Energy drink facts, the most important of which is that “Knowledge is power”. Knowing the energy drink facts is necessary to clear up the confusion and fear surrounding these heavily marketed and unfamiliar potions.
Energy drinks are a blend of ingredients that are thought to help people generate more energy and be more alert. Separating the fact from the marketing hype is another matter which we will deal with in a minute.
Q: What are the most common ingredients in energy drinks and what do they do?
A: The most common ingredients are some kind of stimulant (usually anhydrous caffeine, but often guarana, green tea extract, kola nut, yerba mate, and seldom l-phenylalanine, either singly or in combination). Caffeine is the most popular stimulant on the planet, used by 90% of Americans, for example. In moderation, it’s been found to improve alertness, memory, and athletic performance. It also produces nervousness, headaches, stomach upset, diarrhea, and — at extreme dosages — even irregular heartbeat and sometimes death.
It should be noted that guarana is much different in its consequences than anhydrous caffeine. It gives a longer-lasting endurance, without the nervousness often caused by other forms of caffeine.
A: Sugar, in some form, is the other significant ingredient in energy drinks. Sometimes artificial sweeteners are utilised to decrease the calorie content and some of these, notably aspartame, present their own health problems.
Q: What are these minor components, such as Taurine, B vitamins, ginseng, milk thistle extract, other vitamins and herbs? Are they just”window dressing” or do they serve an actual purpose?
A: Here, the energy drink facts are less than clear. On the other hand, it’s not known what levels of taurine must be present to counteract the free radicals generated from the energy increase catalyzed by the large amounts of Caffeine in these drinks. In my experience, in the better blends, there does seem to be a noticeable improvement over a simple mixture of coffee or tea and sugar.
In any process of turning food into energy, B vitamins serve as co-factors. Vitamin B-12 is particularly important and is deficient in many older adults. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant, which can counteract and neutralize the free radicals generated in the energy metabolism stimulated with these drinks. The quantities of these vitamins and amino acids vary, but are well within safe levels in most cases. Bottom Line: These shouldn’t be a problem; they have a real purpose and no known dangers in voluminous research.
Ginseng has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine as an overall modulator of hormonal action to bring balance within the body. Milk thistle is a well-researched herb that’s used in cleansing the liver of toxins — this may serve a function when consuming alcoholic drinks mixed with energy drinks, as a hangover preventive. Ginkgo is believed to be a memory enhancer — this may be useful, or at least may be promoted as useful for students who research using these beverages.
Q: So, where does the danger come from, that we hear so much about?
A: The threat comes from three sources. One is the danger of poorly formulated energy drinks containing too much sugar or caffeine anhydrous, which cause both short-term and long-term negative consequences on health. The second, larger danger is that caused by marketing these drinks to young people with advertisements that subtly and sometimes not-so-subtly encourages abuse.
The high sugar content of most of the energy drinks is often overlooked as an open source to weight gain and is a contributing factor to diabetes, Type 2, as well as a long list of psychological disorders. (See the book, Suicide By Sugar, by Nancy Appleton, PhD, and G.N. Jacobs).
Finally, there is the danger posed by mixing energy drinks with alcohol. In the hands of experienced mature adults, alcohol alone can be dangerous. In the hands of youths who have little knowledge or appreciation for the discomforts, not to mention the potentially lethal risks of alcohol together with energy drinks, there can be trouble. Poor sleep quality and poor performance in school are only the tip of the iceberg when teenagers get heavily into this mix.
Energy drinks, like fire, are a tool which can be very helpful in skilled hands — or a terrible danger when managed by those who don’t appreciate the discipline required to safely use this tool. As in the case of any product that is bought in the marketplace, caveat emptor is good advice for people who choose to use energy drinks (Let the buyer beware!)
A good understanding of the energy drink facts can help you decide which energy drink — if any — is perfect for you. For more information check out Lake Worth Bat Removal.