Stacked corner to corner on supermarket shelves and displayed in every color of the rainbow, energy drinks have become a mainstream part of our diets. When coffee just doesn’t seem like enough, the sugary lure of these caffeine-packed drinks is hard to ignore. However, since the emergence of these products, people have begun to realize that they can have very adverse effects on their well being. But the manufacturers aren’t ready to throw in the towel just yet.
We live in a society obsessed with the words “all natural” and by the looks of it, the energy drink companies have caught on and slapped the words on to every can of the sugary energy concoction. It’s easy for them to make us believe that all the “natural extracts” are where they derive the energy boost. The reality is that the drinks are jam packed with caffeine and sugar.
We decided to look around and see what we could find in the energy drinks we see so often. Certain ingredients seemed to be present in almost every brand; taurine, ginseng, guarana, and green tea. After a little bit of research, we learned that these ingredients do almost nothing to boost your energy levels. Not only are we jacking our bodies with unnecessary stimulants, by drinking just one drink, we’re gulping down hundreds of calories. With Red Bull on the lower end of the calorie spectrum at 110 per can and Amp at the higher end with 220 per can, it’s not difficult to imagine how quickly those calories and sugar add up when energy drinks are your go-to caffeine source.
Sophomore Nutrition major, Katrina Wilhelm, offers another solution. She says that “eating healthier in general is a good way to boost your energy. When you include more fruits, vegetables, and complex carbs into your diet, your body maintains its energy level longer, instead of having an initial spike in energy and then crashing later.”
Sure, the effects won’t be as strong the fizzy, neon green energy potion, but your body will thank you. There are a few common side effects (side effects from a drink?!) that frequent consumers of these energy drinks complain of. The copious amounts of caffeine severely dehydrate your body while tricking it into thinking you’ve just replenished it. Headaches, jitteriness and upset stomachs are just a few of the problems people have reported.
Our advice is to not let yourself be fooled by unbacked claims from companies just trying to make sure their products leave the shelves. Nourish yourself with wholesome foods and your body won’t even feel the need for a pick-me-up!
Photo by Teddy Walker