By SaraLyn Schaeffer
Do you consume energy drinks regularly? If so, then it is vital to be informed on the intricacies of these drinks, as the details are not always expressed explicitly; rather, they are veiled in the fine print.
Gatorade, Red Bull, and the likes are now household names. While advertised as providing energy, they have become increasingly similar to soft drinks. However, these drinks do not supply energy in the form of calories. Instead,
energy drinks are prepared in such a way that they enhance the physical performance and mental alertness of an individual. These interact to induce a stimulating effect on the body. Even if they’re supposedly beneficial, there are still contradictory opinions on the actual impact energy drinks have on the body. “They have their pros and cons, but overall they’re most likely worse for you,” Senior Cody Koster decides. Disagreeing, senior Sean Hoffer concludes, “They are good for you because they give you the energy you need to get through the day.”
Do you know what’s actually inside energy drinks? In fact, they [include methylxanthines, for instance caffeine, vitamin B, and herbs. Other ingredients include guarana, taurine and acai. Furthermore, these energy drinks also have different forms of carbonated water, ginseng, inositol, carnitine, creatine, and gingko biloba. Interestingly, some of these ingredients are common to diet pills and appetite suppressants. These substances improve subjective alertness, cognitive, and mental performance.]
How good are energy drinks for the body? In young adults, the muscles of the upper body gained greater endurance. Energy drinks are also shown to have “restorative properties, due to the combination of glucose and caffeine.” This was proven when tired participants in an event were given a glucose based energy drink. Upon receiving the drink, they showed significant improvement in their performance. If a single can of energy drink is consumed [most kids drink up to two to three a day], no harmful effects are experienced. However, having one too many may lead to adverse side effects.
The primary ingredient in energy drinks is caffeine. When caffeine is consume in excess amounts, it can [induce agitation, insomnia and anxiety.] Moreover, it leads to dehydration. Considering all these side effects, [France banned Red Bull.] The reasoning behind this decision included the revelation that energy drinks [negatively impact the functionality of the heart.]
Heightening the unfavorable qualities of energy drinks, alcohol poses a major threat when combined with Red Bull. This practice is extremely destructive to the body, as Red Bull is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant. Hence, these conflicting drinks are not a beneficial addition to the body. Drinking too many energy drinks has also been [linked to heart attacks.] These drinks trigger a sugar rush, temporary bolt of energy, which inevitably fades away. “Energy drinks give me a kick at first, but in the end I become more tired,” senior Shane Crocker recalls.
Ultimately, it’s the individual’s decision to differentiate between that which is acceptable to input into the body and that which is not; though, it is helpful to educate oneself on the matter. Now it’s time to decide…what do you think, are energy drinks actually healthy?