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Energy Drinks and You

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Published: 25th of July, 2023

Last updated: August 6, 2023 at 0:23 am

The question of whether or not energy drinks are good for you is highly debatable. Doubtless however, they do contain niacin which, when taken in excess, can cause liver damage and liver cancer. The question is, “how much is too much?” Many people reported drinking one energy drink per day for years and remain healthy. Some people, on the other hand, overdo it and get sick. The amount of energy drinks a person’s body can tolerate depends on many factors such as how healthy the person is, how quickly their body repairs, genetics and hereditary factors, and the kind of diet and exercise program they are currently on.

As mentioned above, some people overdo the drinking of energy drinks. There are stories of people drinking three, four, or five energy drinks per day over prolonged periods of time. Some of these people eventually develop some sort of health complications. But whether we can pin the blame on energy drinks is not clear-cut since people have been developing these same health conditions way before the appearance of energy drinks on the market.

Why Drink Energy Drinks?

Energy drinks can give you a needed push on days when you aren’t exactly feeling on top of the world. Let’s say you’re feeling a bit sluggish one morning and you have a lot of work to do. You can do a couple of freehand exercises, take a light breakfast, with or without coffee, and then pop a tin of energy drink. Go to work right after and you will feel the energy surging in you so well that you’re not feeling any stress in getting stuff done. When used in the right way, energy drinks can be a powerful tool in helping you live a productive life.

I myself have reaped the benefits of drinking energy drinks in the manner described in the paragraph above. I find too that energy drinks have an uncanny (no pun intended) way of boosting your brain power. There were days when I was wondering how I would get all this work done, and after popping a tin of energy drink, I find myself effortlessly putting everything in place.

Energy drinks help you to complete mental exercises as well as physical exercises effortlessly. For example, if I pop an energy drink, I find that words and ideas flow much faster and easier when writing an article or book, studying a lesson becomes easier and the information sticks with less effort, and so on. I’ve used energy drinks to aid me in getting work done from time to time, but I tend not to use more than 3 tins of energy drinks per week. And no, I haven’t been in the habit of drinking them every week.

Energy drinks can have residual effect. That is, they can condition your body to remain physically and mentally active for days or weeks after you’ve last had them…if you have been using them correctly. For example, if you used one energy drink every morning for one week before engaging in physical tasks, not only will you find that the work is easier to do, but your body will produce extra energy days or weeks after you’ve stopped the energy drink routine. This happens by the rule of “conditioning.”

When Not to Drink Energy Drinks

In my opinion, energy drinks should not be abused. They should be used in a manner that adds value to your life. Do not drink energy drinks for example, when you’re chatting with a friend, watching TV or not about to engage in either physical of mental exercise. This wastes the power of the energy drink and can lead to unnecessary addiction and health problems. In my opinion, you should use energy drinks mostly when engaging in physical exercises and less when engaging in mental exercises that doesn’t require a lot of physical effort.

Do You Really Need Energy Drinks?

The blunt answer is “no.” You don’t need energy drinks. But at the same time, you don’t “need” a computer, a wristwatch, electricity, a BWM motor car, exotic vacations, or a luxurious house. Not because you don’t “need” it means it’s not good for you. Energy drinks can be a powerful tool when used in the right way. But with that being said, you can lead a high-energy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet with lots of raw food, engaging in healthy doses of physical exercises, avoiding excessive alcohol, completely avoiding cigarettes, and getting adequate rest and recreation. If you find your body’s right rhythm and beat, you will find little use in drinking energy drinks. But we all go through ups and downs in life, and oftentimes, we find that we need that extra push. This is where energy drinks can come into play, even though you don’t “need” them.

Are Energy Drinks Safe and Healthy?

Energy drinks are relatively safe and healthy when used in moderation and not abused. One of the main active ingredients in energy drinks is taurine – a perfectly natural and healthy substance that the body needs. Energy drinks also contain caffeine which is found in coffee and is relatively OK for the body. On top of that, most energy drinks contain a healthy dose of vitamins, especially the B vitamins, which the body needs to function properly, and a deficiency of which can lead to an unhealthy body. Energy drinks do contain a few compounds and chemicals which can harm the body if taken excessively. But this is true for many other foodstuff we find on the supermarket shelves.

Not All Energy Drinks are Created Equal

With all of the above being said, it is important to note that not all energy drinks are created equal. Some energy drinks are packed with more chemicals and synthetic ingredients than others. I particularly remember feeling tired twenty minutes after drinking a particular energy drink. To avoid the risk of being sued, I won’t mention the name of that particular brand here. But I’ll mention one energy drink that I absolutely love and recommend. This energy drink is produced in Brazil, and, in addition to containing a healthy dose of taurine, caffeine, and vitamins, it is made with a blend of the extract of 15 fruits. It is called HND Energy Drink. At present, this energy drink is not available in the US market and the label is still only in Portuguese. My second choice of energy drink is Monster. You can read the ingredients on the label, online reviews, and try a sample of the different brands to determine which energy drink works best.

Energy Drinks and Working Out

Whether you’re a bodybuilder or just staying fit, energy drinks can give you that added push in your workout routine. But in using energy drinks to aid your workout, the smallest possible dose should be used…ideally no more than one tin. Needless to say, pressuring your body rashly can have serious repercussions. Energy drinks can be used in moderation to condition your body for working out, but once a certain momentum is gained, you should quit using it for this purpose.

Alternative Energy Boosters

Did you know that there are a wide variety of foods and food combinations that give you an energy boost just as much, almost as much, and sometimes much more, than energy drinks? That’s right. And some of these are healthier than others. Here are some that I’ve personally used and which millions of people swear by. Please note that all natural or mostly natural doesn’t always equate to healthier.

  1. Carrot and pumpkin blended up into juice and sweetened with sugar or honey.
  2. Ginger tea or ginger beer.
  3. Coconut water.
  4. A cup of coffee.
  5. A few grams of Cadbury Chocolates and two cups of Lipton tea.
  6. Mashed potatoes and porridge.

You can find a wide range of energy boosters from pills and capsules to powders and liquid on Amazon. There, you can read descriptions, details, ingredients list, and reviews left by other people before purchasing. Click here to see a full list of energy boosting products available on Amazon.com.

Legal Notice and Disclaimer: This article is directed to healthy adults. Speak to your doctor before using energy drinks if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. This article contains the personal opinions and experiences of the author. It is not medical advice and should not be used as an alternative for professional medical attention. Neither the author nor publisher of this article will be held responsible for any use or misuse of the information contained herein.

Article Source: Nutrition, Fitness and Medicine (Reprinted with Permission)

This publication asked Dr. Elber Borrego, a Cuban Trained Medical Doctor practicing in Guyana, to review this article before publication here. Below are his comments.

Response from Dr. Elber Borrego

This is a very good article. I like your points of view. We as doctors never recommend energy drinks or any soft drinks. However, as you stated, “not because you don’t need it means it’s bad.” Alcohol, for example, could be harmful if we overuse it, but healthy if we drink small amounts daily. Some narcotics are also used as painkillers. So, the key to something being healthy or unhealthy sometimes lies in the amount we use.

I recently had a patient at emergency who usually drank energy drinks at work to be more productive. He came in with severe chest pains, tachycardia, and high blood pressure. We did a heart test and it didn’t show a heart attack, but heart enlargement. This proves that the abuse of energy drinks could affect one’s health. There are other reports available online of patients who suddenly died after a habit of drinking excessive amounts of energy drinks.

In summary, energy drinks are OK if used in moderation. I wouldn’t recommend taking more than one in one day, and I wouldn’t recommend drinking it daily. Remember too that energy drinks contain a significant proportion of caffeine which is highly addictive, so people can become dependent. Although I can’t say it’s healthy, drinking an energy drink from time to time wouldn’t be harmful.

Dr. Elber Borrego (MD), offers free medical advice via WhatsApp. To learn more, visit: https://www.guyanasouthamerica.gy/askadoctor

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