You don’t have to look very hard these days to find a plethora of energy drinks within easy reach.  Every gas station, grocery store, local convenience store and even supplement stores carry them.

People seem to be guzzling them by the gallon for a variety of reasons including before their regular workouts.  Sure they might give you a blast of extra energy, but how much damage are they doing?

These drinks almost always contain caffeine, the highest at the equivalent of 2.5 – 3 cups of coffee per can or bottle.  Some also contain other ingredients such as guarana which also contains caffeine.   While the average person may consume 1-3 cups of coffee per day, this doesn’t really seem like a lot, keep in mind you’re getting that amount in one dose (all at once) with energy drinks.  Now if you combine this with your daily tea, coffee, etc.  the amounts you are consuming quickly begin to climb. There have also been concerns raised by a number of researchers that the actual amount of caffeine in these energy drinks is often not accurately represented on the label and may actually contain more caffeine than they suggest.

It has also long been known that caffeinated beverages are dehydrating.  It’s recommended that you drink 2-3 8oz. glasses of water per serving of caffeinated drink to counteract these effects.   Excess caffeine has also been linked to heart palpitations in those who are sensitive to it, or even in those who unknowingly consume more than they realize.  Not to mention drinking them before exercise when you will already be elevating your heart rate and losing water due to sweating may not be wise.  Now, throw in a ton of sugar, synthetic  vitamins,  chemicals (and who knows what else) and you have a concoction that no health conscious person would touch.

Physicians and health organizations have been sounding the alarm over other health concerns that are directly linked to the regular consumption of energy drinks.  These include: high blood pressure, agitation, heart palpitations, dizziness, nausea, gastro-intestinal pain, moderate to severe sleep disruptions,  increased rate of tooth decay, and the erosion of tooth enamel.   The effects of energy drinks combined with alcohol can be catastrophic and there have also been fatalities in individuals with heart conditions and un-diagnosed heart conditions.  Some other serious concerns have been raised recently with regards to the use of energy drinks by children and teens as well, as they are easily accessible and unregulated.

So if you’re a huge fan of energy drinks and I’ve just completely ruined your day, sorry! (not to kick you while you’re down but so-called sports drinks aren’t great for you either) But next time you plan on reaching for an energy drink, give a second thought to your health and try something more natural.  Here’s a little tip:  I’ve heard even pro athletes swear by eating a banana before a workout.  Bananas contain potassium, give you energy, they promote better digestion,  contain vitamins that help balance your mood (as opposed to giving you the shakes) and best of all they come in their very own organic carrying case, devoid of plastic or aluminum! 

Well, that’s it for now. Thanks for reading & hope you have a great workout J

Produced by Ron & Kathleen Zalko