Energy Boost or Vitality Bust?

What You Need to Know about Energy Drinks

Whether it’s a long day at the office, a hard workout, or an all-night study session, achieving those New Year’s resolutions can take its toll on you physically and mentally. Could the answer to your lack of oomph lie in the cooldrinks fridge at the end of the garage store shopping aisle?

Many people turn to energy drinks when they need a boost. After all, with the promise of enhanced concentration, peak performance and total alertness, it’s easy to see why energy drinks are some of the top-selling beverages in the country. Experts, however, are increasingly concerned that the ingredients that go into these drinks could have unintended health risks.

A Drink After Your Own Heart

While you may love the energy injection these drinks give you, the short- and long-term effects of drinking them could outweigh the benefits. A 2019 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that caffeinated energy drinks altered the heart’s electrical activity and raised blood pressure.

The extent of these electrical changes — which signal the squeezing and relaxing of the heart’s chambers — is “generally considered mild,” according to study author Sachin Shah, a professor of pharmacy at the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at the University of the Pacific. However, people who take certain medications or who have a heart condition could be at increased risk of a fatal arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, he added.

During an extensive study, scientists at the McGovern Medical School in Houston found an acute impairment in heart circulation after just one energy drink. This means it takes more work for the heart to deliver less oxygen to your body, explaining why there have been reported cases of cardiac arrest after consuming an energy drink.

An Energy-fuelled Sleep Cycle

While getting a temporary boost of energy may be just what you need to get through a difficult stretch, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) in America has found that people who consume energy drinks or other caffeinated beverages regularly are more likely to struggle with insomnia; this will leave you more tired, more often.

The NSF recommends healthy sleep habits as an optimum means of energy enhancement. A regular sleep schedule, relaxing bedtime routine and cool, comfortable sleep environment will help you sleep well and feel energised for the day.

The Sweet Taste of Energy

Caffeine isn’t the only ingredient in this business. Energy drinks often contain large amounts of sugar to aid their energy-boosting effects. A single serving of an energy drink can have more than 30 grams of sugar. This has been linked to obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Even in sugar-free energy drinks, the sweeteners and hidden sugar content may have a bad effect on your health.

An Alternative Solution

While energy drinks may seem like a quick fix for fatigue, many contain  ingredients that haven’t been tested well enough to know their effects on the body. There are many alternatives to energy drinks that offer a healthy energy boost and won’t let you down:

  • Drink more water
  • Take multi-vitamins
  • Eat a protein and carbohydrate-rich meal
  • Be active
  • Get enough sleep.

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