Most people who know me are aware that I’m a firm advocate of energy drinks. Over the past fifteen years, there has been a lot of press relating to the pros and cons of energy drinks and their effects on the body.
Most energy drinks found at your local corner convenience store offer a variety of benefits. Multiple B-vitamins, which can help your cardiovascular, nervous and digestive systems, mild relief from arthritis symptoms and muscle cramps. Obviously, caffeine and taurine, which can provide benefits in multiple different areas of the body.
But what about the cons? Excessive caffeine use has been linked to headaches, insomnia, nervousness and jitters, to name a few… An article posted by the Mayo Clinic indicates that the average adult can safely consume approximately 400 milligrams of caffeine in a day. That is the equivalent of about four medium coffees or about three 473 mL cans of energy drink.
I’m not certain what the effect would be in drinking 400 milligrams of caffeine in one sitting, but I can’t imagine it would be good. And although this amount is reasonably safe for adults, children and even teenagers should avoid caffeine consumption.
One of the worst side effects of energy drinks is that it can become addictive. Believe me. Up until recently, I would start my morning with a full can of energy drink. By mid-afternoon I would need a second can, otherwise the headaches and exhaustion would set in. I tapered off and worked my way off of energy drinks. You may recall that in a previous post, I indicated that I was starting a green tea regime to replace this addiction. Its been going well by the way, thanks for asking!
Another thing to consider is that unless you’re purchasing a sugar-free energy drink, you’re consuming an OBSCENE amount of sugar and/or carbohydrates with every can. About 27 grams of sugar per can, to be exact! This is simply the average, but it’s still comparable to a can of Coke.
Excessive caffeine is also a diuretic, and will cause dehydration during exercise. This is why energy drinks are not ideal as a workout drink. A thorough workout will dehydrate you enough without adding an external diuretic into the mix!
Are energy drinks bad? I don’t think so. But I also believe they have their place in the grand scheme of things. Remember that moderation is key and if you get to the point that you need them to get your day going, it may be time to taper off. ☯