Every now and then we all get that 3:00 feeling- it’s nearing the end of the day, and you’re starting to drag and you just need SOMETHING to give you some energy. This is a crucial time and if you are one of many Americans, you may reach for some type of Energy Drink. It definitely will wake you up, but if you knew what happened to your body once you start drinking it, you may never pick one up again!
First, let’s talk about the ingredients:
1. Caffeine- If you have two energy drinks per day, you are consuming the amount of caffeine that is in 12 cans of soda. Yes, you read that right A DOZEN sodas!! Too much caffeine causes you to crash and feel fatigued. It is also the culprit of many health issues such as digestive issues, dehydration, dizziness, irritability, withdrawal and headaches.
2. Sugar & sugar substitutes- Excessive amounts of sugar or sugar substitutes causes weight gain, tooth decay, and Type 2 diabetes.
3. Ginseng, gingko biloba, and guarana- These are herbal substances that are not necessarily bad for you- on their own. It is a different story though, when they are combined with caffeine and sugar. They can cause high blood pressure, heart palpitations, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, swelling, dehydration and kidney failure.
4. Taurine- An amino acid that supports neurological development and regulates the amounts of water and minerals in the blood. That sounds good, right? Yes, but these benefits come when the taurine is on its own. Mixed with the other ingredients in energy drinks, it can cause dangerously low blood pressure.
5. Too many B vitamins- We all need B vitamins, but the amounts in these drinks are extreme. Excessive B vitamins can cause skin conditions, liver toxicity, gastrointestinal problems, blurred vision and nerve damage.
Now that we know about the harmful ingredients, let’s look at what happens to your body when you drink an energy drink.
• It takes 10 minutes for the caffeine to enter your bloodstream, which will cause your heart rate and blood pressure to rise.
• At 15-45 minutes, you’ll feel more stimulated, more alert and your concentration levels will be high.
• At 30-50 minutes, your body has fully absorbed the caffeine, and your liver will respond by absorbing more into your bloodstream.
• At 1 hour, the effects start to die down and you will start your crash. You will start to feel tired and the energy will start to diminish.
• It takes 7-12 days for your body to become tolerant of this daily caffeine dosage.
This constant rollercoaster can have harmful long-term effects on the body such as but not limited to:
• Caffeine overdose (palpitations, high blood pressure, nausea and vomiting, convulsions, and sometimes, rarely, even death).
• Type 2 diabetes
• Neurological and cardiovascular system problems
• Excessive cortisol release
All of these warnings do not seem to be worth a short-lived burst of energy. Not to mention that many of these drinks actually carry a WARNING label! I don’t know about you, but that alone is enough to keep me from purchasing one! Natural, healthy sources of energy are oatmeal, fruits, almonds, Greek yogurt, beans and brown rice. You could also have a regular cup of coffee!
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