Are energy drinks bad for you? Caffeine lovers swear by them; others swear they are bad for your health and to be avoided at all costs.
Just like any other topic, it seems like opinions fall all across the map. Here’s what we DO know:
- Caffeine can have positive health benefits in moderation. Caffeine can positively improve athletic endurance, making it beneficial to consume before certain workouts. However, caffeine is not recommended to take in large doses before cardiovascular exercise because of its stimulating effect on the heart.
- Caffeine can also improve mental focus and have long-term benefits on memory--some research has shown that it can protect against Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- The excessive sugar or sweeteners added to some energy drinks is NOT okay--some energy drinks contain more sugar than soda! Make sure that your energy drinks are not loaded with sugar and calories.
- Watch consumption of artificial sweeteners--a majority of energy drinks that don’t contain sugar DO contain artificial sweeteners. It makes them taste great, but we encourage you to watch your overall daily intake of artificial sweeteners. They are okay in moderation, but if you’re consuming a preworkout, BCAAs, energy drink, and protein that all contain artificial sweeteners, you might want to cut back in certain areas.
- Too much caffeine is a bad thing. Too much caffeine can have negative effects on the heart, blood pressure, adrenal system, and sleep. A good recommendation for most individuals is to keep caffeine consumption under 400 mg each day, or less if you are more sensitive.
Our current favorite choices for energy drinks are Amino Energy and Alani Nu. These two are not loaded with caffeine (only 100 mg in Amino Energy and 200 mg Alani Nu) and Amino Energy uses natural caffeine sources. Enjoy responsibly and remember that just like almost anything else, energy drinks are best enjoyed in moderation. Nothing will ever be able to replace a good night's sleep or the natural energy generated from exercise!