Are Energy Drinks Bad for You? Energy drinks have become a staple of today’s modern society. Whether you’re looking for a quick pick-me-up on a long day at work or you’re a college student looking to get completely trashed, energy drinks are for you.
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, the popularity of energy drinks has only grown in the past few years. Energy drinks are now available in virtually every corner store, gas station, and grocery store. They are advertised on every street corner and can be found at just about every social gathering. Even competitors have jumped on the energy drink bandwagon and now offer their own versions of the ubiquitous product.
So, are energy drinks good for you? Are they bad for you? If you’re like most people, you’re probably a little unsure of how to answer that question.
What are Energy Drinks?
An energy drink is a beverage that is high in calories (energy), sugar, or both, with little to no nutritional value. They are typically meant to provide the consumer with a burst of energy that lasts longer than a snack food would.
The vast majority of energy drinks contain an amphetamine-like stimulant called caffeine, along with a plethora of other potent pharmaceutical-grade ingredients, including:
- B vitamins
- Vitamin C
There are a lot of misconceptions about what energy drinks are and how they affect the consumer. Therefore, it is important to know the facts. An energy drink is simply a beverage that is loaded with sugar, calories, and a bunch of other crap you don’t need.
The following are just a few of the many reasons why you should never drink an energy drink:
They Are Not Nutritional:
Drinks such as Red Bull and Monster contain huge amounts of sugar and very little nutritional value. You could put the same amount of nutritional value into a baby’s pinky finger and these drinks would still have more calories than an adult could eat in a day.
They Are Not Safe for All People:
Some people can metabolize caffeine better than others. If you are one of those people who can’t handle caffeine, an energy drink is not the beverage for you.
They Are Highly Addictive:
Once you start drinking them, you will quickly become dependent on them and crave more and more. If you attempt to stop drinking them cold turkey, you will soon experience a very uncomfortable withdrawal period.
What is the Nutritional Content of an Energy Drink?
For the most part, the nutritional content of an energy drink is basically nothing. The only exception to this rule is if the drink is specifically marketed as a nutritional supplement.
These beverages typically contain vitamins and minerals but in very small amounts. For example, a Monster drink has 110 calories, but most of those calories come from sugar and not from any nutritional benefits.
Does Drinking an Energy Drink Make You Feel More awake?
Theoretically, yes. The stimulants in energy drinks are powerful and if used correctly, they can help you get more done in a day. However, there is no credible scientific evidence that shows drinking energy drinks makes you more awake. In fact, many studies have shown the complete opposite.
Are there side effects of Energy Drinks?
Yes, there are many side effects of energy drinks. However, the majority of them have little to nothing to do with being awake or tired.
The most common side effects of energy drinks include:
- Increased heart rate
- Dry mouth
These side effects are almost always mild and transient. They typically go away after one or two days. However, some people (approximately 1% of the population) are very sensitive to caffeine and can experience more side effects than normal.
If you experience any of the side effects listed above, do not worry. Instead, just drink a glass of water and you’ll be fine.
Is It Safe to Drink Energy Drinks?
Generally speaking, yes. The vast majority of energy drinks are completely safe to drink. However, it’s important to note that there are energy drinks that are better for you than others. Monster and Red Bull, for example, have very low levels of caffeine and provide numerous health benefits. Therefore, they are considered “healthy” energy drinks.
On the other hand, many other energy drinks have high amounts of caffeine and provide very little nutritional value. Therefore, they are not safe for you to consume every day.
Here is a list of some popular energy drinks and their health benefits (according to what you can find online):
- Red Bull: Boosts athletic performance –
- Monster: Good for treating Type 2 diabetes –
- 5 Hour Energy: Good for treating insomnia –
- Rockstar: Good for treating fatigue –
- Water: Water is the key to good health
The Pros of Drinking An Energy Drink
- Can help for feel more awake
- Can increase brain function
The Cons of Drinking An Energy Drink
- Sugar rush: Caffeine is a highly addictive drug and similar to cocaine, the sugar in energy drinks creates a rush, but it is not a permanent solution to your problems.
- Toxins: Many energy drinks use artificial sweeteners, so they don’t contain enough nutrients to make you feel full. Artificial sweeteners have been linked to many serious health problems, so this is definitely a downside.
- Bad for your Budget: Energy drinks are expensive and often have a giant mark-up. This means that you need to spend a lot of money buying them, which is bad for your budget.
- Bad for Your Health: Energy drinks often have high amounts of sugar and artificial ingredients, so they are bad for your health. They can increase your risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
- Big Gulp: Another thing that is bad for your health is drinking a lot of these drinks in one sitting. Gulping them down is not only wasteful but is also dangerous because you do not get a full dose of caffeine with every drink.
Conclusion – Are Energy Drinks Bad for You?
As you can see, drinking energy drinks has its benefits, but there are also disadvantages. If you like the taste of these beverages, then go for it. However, if you don’t drink them very often, you don’t consume enough sugar, and you don’t want to end up with a bad reputation, you should probably just stick to water.