Life is often hectic, demanding, and stressful and that reality puts a strain on our energy reserves. The result is, we look to quick, easy sources for more to help us keep up. Energy drinks…they are one of the popular modern solutions to this dilemma. We all know the ads promising to give us wings and take us to new heights of energetic expression. But are these promises real? Are the products an authentic solution? And even if they do deliver the results we are seeking (more energy), does that mean they are a healthy, solution?
Let’s find out…
The driving force of energy drinks is caffeine. The average energy drink contains nearly 4 times the amount of caffeine found in the typical carbonated beverage with some products containing as much caffeine as 14 Cokes. As another measure, a 6-ounce cup of coffee has 80-150 milligrams of caffeine, but the caffeine content of energy drinks ranges from 50-500+ mg, with one popular energy shot topping the charts at 570mg, When you do the math on that, it is the equivalent of about three and a half cups of coffee in one single sip.
So what’s the big deal?
Caffeine forces your adrenal glands to secrete excessive amounts of adrenaline and hormones, thus the shot of energy. The result is a progressive, undetected and growing tolerance to the effects of caffeine, and the very real risk of burn-out and adrenal depletion as a result. This is accompanied by fatigue and a need for higher and higher amounts of caffeine to achieve the sought energy boost. Very simply it becomes much like an addiction and one that sets the stage for greater health problems in the pursuit of some quick energy.
This excess caffeine content can literally be deadly for someone with high stress levels or high blood pressure which are often already related to the “need” for more energy. Caffeine, especially in these high doses, causes blood vessel constriction and increased risk of blood clots. And if that is not risk enough, these caffeine levels result in increased risk of stroke and arthritis, insomnia, heart palpitations, tremors, sweating, nausea, diarrhea, chest pain, and neurological symptoms.
It doesn’t stop there.
Spoon 10 teaspoons of sugar in your next cup of coffee. That’s what you are drinking in one can of the average energy drink.This amount of sugar results in a flood of insulin in an attempt to manage all the extra glucose that ends up in the bloodstream…spiked blood sugar levels. While, if very active, some of this sugar may be used by the muscles, the remainder of the sugar is converted into fat. In addition, the body releases more cortisol from your adrenal glands adding to the stress already related to the excess caffeine and the lifestyle that has led you to the energy drinks in the first place. The result is a rapid upswing in energy, followed by a subsequent crash. That severely compromises the immune system which is engaged in this unnatural war, produces a surge of cell-damaging free radicals, thickened blood and an eventual insensitivity to insulin, also known as type II diabetes.
Now we have to consider the artificial sweeteners that have become prevalent. Don’t they eliminate this problem? Unfortunately not. In fact, they complicate the issue. New research has shown that there is still a major release of these hormones when you consume artificial sweeteners. The brain, responds as though it has received sugar but all the while the body is saying “wait, where’s the sugar?’ Subsequently, you develop cravings typically 30-60 minutes after consuming an artificially sweetened beverage. Again, another addiction in the works.
But the buck doesn’t stop there. These artificially sweetened chemicals such as aspartame (Nutrasweet), sucralose (Splenda), and sugar alcohols have been linked to upset stomachs, mood swings, birth defects, cancer, diabetes, emotional disorders, epilepsy, seizures, a variety of neurological disorders and even obesity.
And the final blow…Acid.
Carbonic acid, citric acid and phosphoric acid used in carbonated energy drinks can raise the risk of stomach upsets such as gastritis, heartburn, indigestion and ulcers, cause bone loss, osteoporosis, and bone fractures, and upset the delicate acid-alkaline balance in body resulting in and over acidic environment which means ideal conditions for the development and growth of just about any illness or disease I could list.
Suffice it to say, while the need for more energy is very real, the risk of consuming energy drinks for a quick and quickly fading shot of energy is just too high.
The better solution is a healthier lifestyle. One built on boundaries, knowing your limits of time, energy and other resources, making whole foods/authentic nutrition part of that lifestyle to fuel your body properly for all the challenges of life, living active by making fitness a regularly part of your schedule and resting 8-10 hours each night. These combined, again as a lifestyle, will remove that grinding need for artificial energy boosts and set you up for a life of energy and health.
And if you do all that and still find yourself in the occasional need for a boost because…yes, life does happen…try these quick and easy recipes:
Coconut Wheat Grass Energy Drink
Simply blend pure coconut water and ½ teaspoon wheat grass powder.
Coconut Orange Flax Smoothie
Peel 5 oranges, add 3 tablespoons of flax oil plus just enough coconut water to get things nicely blended.
Coconut, Raw Honey and Apple Cider Tonic
Blend together 2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar; 16 ounces coconut water; 2 teaspoons raw honey.
Go natural to meet the needs for more energy with no worries about any potential side effects to you best health.
Carl Mason- Liebenberg is a Wellness and Weight Loss Specialist, Author, Fitness Coach, and a Leader in Creating a Lifestyle of Wellness. His passion is for those who suffer from poor nutrition, related illnesses, addictions and overweight conditions; with a specific focus on women. Carl unveils the power of nutrition and fitness to bring recovery, healing, restoration and strength. Carl has personally experienced what he teaches and continues to study and learn to improve his ability to teach you a Lifestyle of Wellness. He has recently launched the New Beginnings RESET Guide that you’ll want to be sure to obtain in your journey to authentic wellness.