The advertising for power energy drinks certainly makes them sound wonderful but how much of the promises made are pure marketing hype? The claims being made include that they can boost stamina, speed up the metabolic rate, increase alertness and even act as a nutritional supplement. In the beginning, power energy drinks were targeted towards athletes who needed to replace vital nutrients lost during extreme workouts. Now power energy drinks are even being promoted to office workers as a way to get over the midday energy lull.
The consumer needs to learn to read a nutritional label to discern the truth behind the slick marketing but even then it can be deceiving. Often there will be exotic and unfamiliar ingredients that have not been tested to see if they are safe and do what they claim it will. Many of the power energy drinks on the market now have added vitamins, minerals and other true nutritional value but the main ingredients in most are still caffeine and sugar.
One thing that can really be deceptive when trying to decipher the label is the serving size that the label uses. The average size of container sold is 12 oz. but almost every label is based on an 8 oz. serving. The average person is not going to realize the difference and believe they are consuming less caffeine and sugar than they actually are.
Caffeine is a stimulant that acts on the central nervous system. Most people will feel a burst of energy when consuming caffeine but when the effect wears off, you actually can be left feeling worse than when you started. Too much caffeine can overstimulate and can leave you feeling shaky and jittery. Caffeine may be legal but it’s still a drug and has been proven to be highly addictive. Withdrawal symptoms such as severe headaches can occur when you try to go without.
The amount of sugar in the most popular brands of power energy drinks runs from 26 to 30 grams of sugar per serving. Since many drinks actually contain a serving and a half, that can be 39 to 45 grams of sugar in one drink. If you are not working out intensely to burn those calories off, they will be left to turn to fat. All that sugar contributes to tooth decay, as well.
What about all the exotic ingredients that are being added? Herbal supplements are not controlled by the FDA like medications are so there is often little to no research to back up the claims being made on these additives safety. Common additions are ginseng, taurine and guarana. All three of these act similarly to caffeine. When combining multiples of these ingredients, you end up getting far more stimulation than you may have counted on.
Power energy drinks are not a cheap energy fix, either. The prices run from $2 to $4 per can/bottle. That can add up quickly if you’re consuming several drinks in a day to keep yourself from the caffeine crash. Eating properly and drinking lots of water will enable you to maintain a steady energy level without costing you anything extra.
While this may sound like power energy drinks are bad for you and should be banned, that is not the point of this article. There is nothing harmful about a normally healthy adult drinking a Red Bull or Amp on occasion. As with all things, moderation is the key to keeping yourself healthy and safe.