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Energy Drinks: The Pros & Cons On Your Health

If caffeine is a close friend you turn to for support, chances are you may have come across energy drinks. But just how safe are these for your health? Here we'll show you how it affects your mind and body.

When you need a pep in your step, it can be tempting to grab the next can of energy drink. It's arguably the most accessible and convenient option next to your cup of instant coffee. From sari-sari stores and supermarkets to your nearest 7-Eleven, finding these drinks is just as simple as looking beside the rows of Coca-Cola. And though a sip can undoubtedly be the energizing boost you need, it may not exactly be the most sustainable choice.

Although energy drinks provide a short-term performance boost, several studies have shown that there are also pitfalls to consuming these caffeinated drinks. So if you're looking to see if this is a worthy beverage to include in your diet, here is a list of pros and cons and available healthy alternatives.

Pros

1. Quick energy boost

Energy drinks are widely attractive due to their quick energy-boosting effect. But their popularity can also be due to how accessible these beverages are. When you're pressed for time, sometimes it's just easier to sip a Red Bull at the convenience store while on the way to work. Or, if you're chasing a deadline, keeping the drink by your gives you a much-needed energy spike that can last for a few hours. Still, it's not advisable to exceed the recommended amount, which should be no more than 16 ounces.

2. Helps with mental alertness

Sipping a 16-ounce energy drink with 80 milligrams of caffeine is enough to improve your concentration and brain function. This information alone is most likely why people working late-night shifts or long-distance drivers can rely on these drinks. A study on commercial bus drivers in Ghana has found that 75% of the drivers are dependent on energy drinks to manage fatigue. But at the same time, a majority of these individuals also lack the proper information regarding the adverse effects of consuming energy drinks.

3. Boosts your workout performance

If you want to elevate your workout, energy drinks can boost your performance output to give you that extra push. In the sports industry, a study by Camilo José Cela University found that athletes who consumed energy drinks during training felt an increase in endurance and muscle power. The participants also reported experiencing less fatigue than those who had a placebo beverage. However, the same group of athletes also experienced insomnia and heightened nervousness.

Cons

1. Promotes addictive behavior

Though energy drinks have perks, regular consumption can also lead to heavy dependence and addiction. You can easily find caffeine in your regular cup of coffee, but it's also one of the most addictive substances you can find. Kids and teenagers, especially, are more susceptible to its effects. But this doesn't mean adults are off the hook.

Coffee fans shouldn't be drinking more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day as it can develop into severe health risks. To compare, a can of energy drink can carry around 80 to 150 milligrams of caffeine. Meanwhile, the caffeine content in robust energy shots can contain 200 milligrams per serving or as high as 500 milligrams.

2. May break your heart

Aside from the high caffeine content, energy drinks also come in large amounts of sugar, taurine, and herbs such as ginseng —which altogether can be an unfriendly concoction for your cardiovascular health. Casual drinkers of these caffeine-laced beverages should be more cautious of the drink's effects on their hearts. Heavy dependence on these refreshments may introduce you to a range of mild to serious heart problems down the line.

This recent study reveals that energy drink consumption has resulted in palpitation and a significant increase in blood sugar. As the contents of this beverage raise your blood pressure, the effect may also amplify the risk of concerning issues such as heart attack and stroke.

3. Heightens other health risks

You may have learned the role of energy drinks in improving your concentration and performance, but regular ingestion can also make you vulnerable to chronic health risks. Multiple studies show that people reliant on this beverage have more frequent instances of insomnia, obesity, and health conditions such as type 2 diabetes. Fans of the beverage may also experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms like severe headaches, fatigue, and mood decline as they get rid of the habit.

4. Causes tooth decay

Due to their high sugar content, energy drinks also increase the prevalence of dental issues such as tooth decay and plaque build-up. Mouth bacteria can convert the sugar you consume into acid, deteriorating the tooth's enamel. As this protective layer wears out, you may develop cavities that may require a visit to your dentist. For more tips on how to take better care of your teeth, read our previous article, where we talk about oral care.

So, should you sort to energy drinks?

Going over these pros and cons makes it easier to see that the long-term effects of these drinks far outweigh their short-term benefits. Though drinking a 16-ounce can once in a while may not present serious risks to your health, you may still develop a dependence on the drink. So when you feel you're running low on battery and you catch sight of these beverages, it's best to simply look away.

Instead, kids and adults alike are advised to look for healthier alternatives to support their energy. Luckily, there are many options to choose from —and they're just as quick and easy to prepare. Here are some of our recommendations.

Green Tea

Brewing a cup of this herbal tea is one of the healthiest decisions you can make when you're looking to replace your morning coffee. Green tea still has trace amounts of caffeine but not as much as a shot of espresso. A warm cup is filled to the brim with antioxidants that can boost brain function, help weight loss, and lower the risk of contracting serious illnesses.

Fruit Juice & Smoothies

Following a doctor's orders to maintain a balanced diet may seem challenging. But with a fruit blender, squeezing in more energy-boosting vitamins to your meals will be a breeze. Combining a variety of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables can create the perfect drink that you need for the day. You may even combine leafy greens like spinach and kale with apples and raspberries to supercharge your mornings.

Ginger Root Tea

When you want to spice up your drink, the refreshing flavor of ginger root tea is a worthy contender. Though it may lack the caffeine content of green tea, this herbal concoction promotes blood flow to enhance and sustain your energy levels naturally. Other health benefits include its anti-inflammatory properties, which can help with muscle pain.

Vitamin B-Complex Supplements

For the best energy output, you'll have to look no further with Vitamin B-Complex. All eight B vitamins work to enhance your metabolism so that you're converting more energy from the food you eat. These vitamins are found in various food types such as dairy, chicken, red meat, and fish like salmon and tuna. But if you're in a hurry, you can also get an ideal dose with Berocca Performance that harnesses the power of 12 essential vitamins and minerals. All you need to do is drop an effervescent tablet in a glass of water, and you'd already have a refreshing drink at your disposal.

When your fuel's running empty, remember that you have more than one way to get back up to speed. Although the easiest option is the most tempting to do, like grabbing the nearest caffeinated beverage, looking at healthier alternatives carves out better days for your body. — (MyPharma)


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