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Are Energy Drinks Good or Bad for You?

By Sara Butler

You probably know someone who lives off energy drinks. Maybe that person is you! People of all ages and all walks of life drink these popular concoctions, but there are some health professionals that warn these drinks can have harmful side effects to health. Here’s the good, bad, and the ugly of energy drinks so you can decide if that extra boost of energy is worth it to you.

What Are Energy Drinks, Anyway?

Energy drinks are pick-me-up beverages that contain ingredients thought to promote mental performance and increase energy. Almost all of these drinks contain a large dose of caffeine in order to stimulate the brain and increase concentration and alertness. The amount of caffeine you’ll find in each drink differs from brand to brand, but some of the most popular energy drinks contain between 80 and 200 milligrams of caffeine per serving.

Energy drinks also contain: 

  • Sugar
  • B vitamins
  • Amino acid derivatives
  • Herbal extracts

Make sure you read the label of your favorite energy drink to find out what’s in it before you buy!

Why People Drink Energy Drinks

One of the biggest reasons people consume these beverages is for improved mental alertness and brain function. Caffeine is certainly known for this side effect, yet many studies don’t support the idea that brain functions -- such as reaction time, memory, and concentration -- are improved by imbibing these drinks.

Another reason energy drinks are so popular is because it is believed to help pep up people when they’re feeling tired. Night-shift workers or people driving long distances overnight, often choose these drinks to help reduce sleepiness. There are studies that support an increase in driving quality and reduction in sleepiness for energy drink users. But this effect must be balanced with how all the caffeine may impact the quality of sleep once ready to get some rest.

How They’re Not Healthy

The biggest problem with energy drinks is how much sugar they contain. Seriously, popular drinks on the market can have anywhere from 27 to 54 grams of sugar per can. Consuming sugar in those quantities will cause blood sugar spikes, which is of particular concern to people who struggle to control their blood sugar due to diabetes. Plus, sugar can add to increased inflammation in your body, which also puts you at higher risk of developing diabetes.

So what should you do? The choice is really up to you, but it’s thought that occasional use of energy drinks is probably OK for your health. Just make sure to avoid alcohol or other caffeinated beverages when you do!

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.


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