Do energy drinks give me energy and good health?

Fitness, Nutrition
two people with energy drinks

Energy drinks are very popular. They are usually marketed as being healthy and fueling your sense of well being, but is this really true?

What is the difference between an energy drink and a sports drink?

The British Nutrition Foundation explains the difference like this:

“Sports drinks are beverages that may contain carbohydrates, minerals, electrolytes and flavouring and are intended to replenish water and electrolytes lost through sweating during exercise. In contrast, the term ‘energy drink’ refers to drinks that also contain substances that act as non-nutritive stimulants, such as caffeine, guarana, taurine and ginseng.”

Are energy drinks good for you?

Because of the way they are marketed, many people think that energy drinks are healthy drinks. The industry encourages this view.

The manufacturers wants you to believe that you are taking care of yourself when you buy an energy drink. You are making a healthy choice. But many of the nutritional claims are dubious. The manufacturers want you to view energy drinks as healthy drinks that give you energy.

According to the US CDC:

“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that adolescents do not consume energy drinks, yet between 30–50% reported consuming energy drinks.

“The National Federation of State High School Associations recommends that young athletes should not use energy drinks for hydration, and information about the potential risk should be widely distributed to young athletes.”

The CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Federation of State High School Associations clearly don’t accept that these drinks are beneficial and give us a nutritional boost when we drink them.

“Energy drinks can be appealing to children and teens because they are available at local stores and are legal for all ages. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50 percent of teens say they consume energy drinks, and 75 percent of school districts don’t have a policy regulating their sale on campus. In general, regulation of energy drinks in the United States is lax. However, there is a movement calling for stricter regulation and content labeling, as well as the addition of health warnings.” Is There Such a Thing as Healthy Energy Drinks?

The Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association isn’t a fan either:

“Drinking 32 ounces of an energy drink in a short timespan may increase blood pressure and the risk of electrical disturbances in the heart, which affect heart rhythm.”

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), more than 20,000 emergency room visits in the United States in 2011 involved energy drinks. More than half of those visits were due to energy drinks alone. The other cases involved people mixing alcohol or other stimulants with energy drinks. via Is There Such a Thing as Healthy Energy Drinks?

Do energy drinks really boost energy?

All the authorities agree that they may give you a temporary energy boost but that’s all.

“They claim to give you a boost with big doses of caffeine — equal to 4 to 5 cups of coffee — and other ingredients like guarana, B vitamins, and ginseng. Most have loads of sugar or sweeteners, too. You may get a short bump in alertness, but don’t believe the hype about more energy, strength, and power. What you’ll really get is too many calories and too much caffeine, which can cause weird heart rhythms, anxiety, trouble sleeping, and digestive problems.” via Best and Worst Drinks for Your Health – WebMD

“Most energy drinks contain large amounts of caffeine, which can provide a temporary energy boost. Some energy drinks contain sugar and other substances. The boost is short-lived, however, and may be accompanied by other problems.” via Energy drinks: Do they really boost energy? – Mayo Clinic

“If you’re consistently fatigued or run-down, consider healthier ways to boost your energy. Get adequate sleep, include physical activity in your daily routine, and eat a healthy diet. If these strategies don’t seem to help, consult your doctor. Sometimes fatigue is a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as hypothyroidism or anemia.” via Energy drinks: Do they really boost energy? – Mayo Clinic

 Reducing Sugary Drinks in Your Diet

The American Heart Association says:

“Beverages like energy drinks can be deceiving because they advertise that they are healthy but usually are loaded with calories and added sugars. Common forms of added sugars are sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, dextrose, syrups, concentrated fruit juice, agave and honey. Look at the label carefully because one container may be more than one serving, which can double or triple the added sugars you’re getting.”

I think we can conclude from all this that choosing an energy drink is not a healthy choice. At the most it will only be a quick energy fix.