Energy drinks have grown massively in popularity in recent years but debate still rages about whether they are good or bad for you.
Many energy drinks do exactly what they say on the tin – they are high in caffeine, sugar and other ingredients which help to boost energy, mental alertness and concentration.However, the ingredients used in some popular energy drinks brands have led to concerns that they may have harmful implications for some people, or if consumed in excess.
Here, we take a closer look at energy drinks, their benefits and the potential consequences of drinking them, to help you make an informed choice.
Energy drinks are widely available in many shops and supermarkets across the UK.
WHAT ARE ENERGY DRINKS?
As their name suggests, they contain ingredients that can help increase energy, improve concentration and boost mental performance.
Most energy drinks contain high levels of caffeine, an ingredient that stimulates brain function and increases focus and concentration.
Other energy drinks include fruit juice, sugar, B vitamins, amino acid derivatives and herbal extracts such as ginseng or guarana. Low-sugar or sugar-free energy drinks are also available.
Alongside the natural ingredients in some energy drinks, some contain artificial additives, colourings or flavourings.
There are many reasons why people consume energy drinks.
The main one is their effect on brain function and mental performance. Caffeine is the main ingredient in most energy drinks, and in moderate amounts, is known to help improve memory, concentration and reaction time while reducing mental fatigue.
Energy drinks are also a popular choice among people who like to exercise, either as a pre-workout energy boost or to quickly replenish energy burned off after hitting the gym.
And because they stimulate brain function, people often take energy drinks when they feel tired during the day or need to stay alert for their job.
Many night-shift workers and long-distance lorry drivers use energy drinks to stay awake.
However, studies have shown that high doses of caffeine, when combined with high amounts of sugar, can over-stimulate the brain and nervous system, leading to sleep problems. It can lead to that awful state where your body feels tired, but your mind is wide awake and racing.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH IMPLICATIONS OF DRINKING TO MANY ENERGY DRINKS?As with most of the things we eat or drink, moderation is essential when it comes to energy drinks.
For most average, healthy people, the odd can of energy drink every once in a while won’t cause any significant problems.
However, if you regularly consume energy drinks, they can start to impact your overall health and wellbeing.
Because most contain high amounts of caffeine, long-term use can lead to sleep problems, resulting in increased anxiety, irritability and stress.
If you are looking to maintain a healthy weight, then the high amounts of sugar found in some brands can significantly add to your calorie count. Some brands pack a whopping 54 grams of sugar in a 500ml can – the equivalent of 14 teaspoons of sugar.
Studies have found that the excess caffeine and sugar found in some energy drinks can increase blood pressure and heart rate and decrease blood vessel function. Over time, this can have a damaging impact on your heart and circulatory health.
When energy drinks are mixed with alcohol, this can also have a damaging effect on your other organs, including your liver and pancreas, which have to work harder to process all the excess sugar.
It’s important to point out here, though, that most healthy adults with no history of heart disease should be able to consume energy drinks occasionally without suffering any problems.
As we said earlier, certain brands of energy drink are loaded with sugar.
ARE ENERGY DRINKS HIGH IN SUGAR?
This can cause your blood sugar levels to spike to dangerous levels, particularly for people with diabetes. Elevated blood sugar has been linked to increased levels of oxidative stress and inflammation, which can damage cells and, longer-term, can lead to chronic illness and disease if left unchecked.
Your risk of developing type-2 diabetes may increase by as much as 25% if you regularly consume high-sugar energy drinks. So, opting for low-sugar or sugar-free energy drinks is advisable.
ARE ENERGY DRINKS SAFE FOR CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS?Around a third of children aged between 12 and 17 regularly consume energy drinks. Some brands are even explicitly marketed to appeal to younger consumers.
However, the high concentrations of caffeine and sugar in some brands can harm children’s normal heart and brain development.
And because excess caffeine use is linked to anxiety, stress and irritability, it can also have a damaging impact on their mental and emotional health.
IS THERE SUCH A THING AS A HEALTHY ENERGY DRINK?For most average, healthy and active adults with no underlying health conditions, the occasional energy drink will not do much harm.
In fact, if you need an added boost to get you through the day or sharpen your mental focus, then energy drinks can be a good solution.
However, if taken to excess, most energy drinks can lead to long-term health problems, including sleep, heart and mental wellbeing issues.
If you are looking for a more natural way to boost your energy as part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle and nutritional plan, then Solstic Energy might be a perfect choice.
Solstic Energy is a great-tasting, natural alternative to commercial energy drinks that has been designed to energise, revitalise and rejuvenate.
Our unique drink mix has been created to meet the growing demand among health-conscious consumers for convenience and ease of use with proven results.
Its blend of quality, natural energy-releasing ingredients can provide additional stamina without the risk. Each serving is low in calories and carbohydrates, contains no fat or sugar, and has a low glycaemic index to support your body naturally.
Solstic Energy has a great, natural citrus flavour and has been formulated to support the body’s energy-producing systems to provide a sustained release of energy whenever you need it.
It includes Yerba Maté, a powerful herb used for thousands of years to increase endurance, guarana seed, a natural source of caffeine, and green tea extracts rich in antioxidants.
It also contains a mix of B vitamins that provide an array of health benefits, contribute to a reduction in tiredness and fatigue and support normal immune system function.
Each sachet contains only 20 calories and is easy to mix into a 500ml serving of delicious, chilled, energy-enhancing drink that naturally supports your exercise and lifestyle goals.
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