Energy drinks have fast become a trend that’s slowly taking over the beverage industry. People believe that these drinks offer a myriad of benefits, and they thus actively consume them. In this article, we will look at the benefits of energy drinks.
The increased consumption has not been without its adverse effects. Given that energy drinks contain caffeine, there have been numerous cases of addiction. Furthermore, some studies have indicated that energy drinks could be the new gateway drug. Reports show that people who abuse these drinks have a high chance of abusing other stimulants.
With all these concerns, what are the benefits of energy drinks? Added energy, fast caffeine absorption, flavor Variation, energy supplementation, ease of access, affordability and better concentration are the main benefits of energy drinks.
Although these are many advantages, there are also disadvantages. We’ll highlight all of this below.
The advantages of energy drinks
Everyone wants to feel energetic as they engage in productive tasks. You could have a project that demands your focus for hours on end. Maybe it takes so much time that you no longer have time to get enough rest. The result of this would be fatigue, which can be crippling to your task. Many people have found themselves in such a situation. They feel tired and cannot or will not sleep. What they need is a pick-me-up to keep them going, and that is why energy drinks are so popular.
This benefit of energy drinks can seem apparent but is the top reason for reaching for these drinks. They are the gateway to feeling alert and becoming more productive as you avoid getting some shut-eye.
Given that they provide you with a burst of energy, it is natural that you would wonder how this works. What in these drinks gives you that energy? It comes down to caffeine and sugar. These ingredients make up most of what you get from the energy drinks. The caffeine is much like what you would get from one cup of coffee, averaging 80 milligrams per can.
This ingredient works in blocking the effects of adenosine, which is a sleep-inducing chemical in the brain. You cannot block its effects with one can, and you will need high quantities of this to get the desired result. Once the blocking takes place, neurons in the brain activate, creating an emergency-like situation. That way, the body reacts to the emergency using the flight or fight mechanism. Adrenaline release then follows, causing more palpitations to take place, and increasing the flow of blood. With this increased circulation, you get more energy flowing through your body.
That’s not all. The adrenaline release also prompts the liver to release more sugar into the bloodstream. That works in elevating your energy levels. Your body reacts to the caffeine as it would if you were in danger. That’s why some people’s eyes will dilate after consuming caffeinated products. And that’s why alertness comes about.
Other than caffeine, most energy drinks also contain high amounts of sugar. An average can provides you with up to ten teaspoons of sugar, which is quite high. The sugar works in elevating the energy levels, albeit for a short period.
You experience this added energy levels for about an hour before the effects start to wear off. That’s why people end up taking more than one can as they want to sustain that high.
Standard Caffeine Amounts
It is no secret that taking vast amounts of caffeine can have adverse effects on your health. You have come across people who suffer health issues from consuming too much caffeine. From tremors to headaches to palpitations to nausea, the effects vary. It gets even worse when it comes to energy drinks. In this case, you have a myriad of ingredients involved. That means that you could suffer a reaction to any one of these ingredients. The thing that can be of help, in this case, would be moderation.
Moderation is easier said than done when dealing with some caffeinated products. A good example would be coffee. You cannot know for sure how much caffeine you are consuming as you enjoy coffee at a local restaurant. That means you cannot gauge the amounts and know when you should stop.
But with energy drinks, gauging amounts is possible. Manufacturers will state just how many milligrams of caffeine are in one can. On average, one can provides you with 80 milligrams of caffeine. People who want to take note of how much caffeine they have consumed would thus have an easy time with energy drinks. The same goes for those trying to kick their caffeine addictions.
Fast Caffeine Absorption
Anyone taking energy drinks for elevated energy levels wants to enjoy the results fast. And with the benefits of energy drinks, this is possible. It comes down to the temperature. Think about it like this. With coffee, you have to wait a bit before you can enjoy the drink to avoid burning your tongue. Even those who love piping hot coffee take their time with it. You see people in coffee shops working and reading books as they sip on their coffee. The longer you drink the coffee, the longer it takes for the absorption to take place.
That is not the case with energy drinks, as these come to you cold. So you can drink as much as you want within a few minutes, allowing absorption to take place fast. That means that the caffeine gets broken down sooner, and you can enjoy the effects within a short time. Now, how does this absorption take place?
The first stage of absorption takes place through the epithelial tissue. Yes, that lining on your digestive tract, starting from the mouth to the stomach, plays an integral role. That means that the caffeine effects begin long before you finish drinking the energy drink. For the next 45 minutes, the caffeine seeps into your bloodstream, leaving about 1% unabsorbed. The energy drink will give you a high for the next four to six hours, which is about its half-life. After this, it is downhill as the effects wear off.
The rate of absorption depends on a myriad of factors, including but not limited to age and medical conditions. Also, the rate of metabolization depends on one’s caffeine sensitivity.
While teas often have a variation in flavors, the same does not hold for coffee, at least not to the same degree. Even with some variation, some people may not like the flavors present in these caffeinated drinks. They thus look elsewhere for that caffeine boost they wish to enjoy, and that makes the benefits of energy drinks more attractive.
Energy drinks are hands-down, the best options for people who want to break free of monotony. They have unique flavors that make them taste better than tea or coffee. Of course, good taste is relative and depends on who you ask.
Manufacturers have become creative with their flavors in a bid to have the lion’s share in the market. One sip of an energy drink may have you wondering what went into its production. The flavors feature a combination of notes, thus making them appeal to the market.
Most energy drinks in the market have one or more fruity flavors, which seem to be popular with consumers. These can be in the form of extracts or synthetic flavors, based on the manufacturer. In most cases, you will come across options such as apple, lemon, grape, and orange. These citrusy and tropical flavors are a popular choice as they feel light. They also match the feel of an energy drink. After all, it is about airiness and energy.
Given that people are gravitating towards health-conscious choices, manufacturers have made a point to include natural extracts. Some people will shun products that have artificial flavors, in favor of real extracts. Fresh flavors work best for energy drinks, leaving rich flavors for other soft drinks.
This variation has made energy drinks the go-to for many people. These consumers are in search of great taste coupled with a caffeine boost.
With coffee and tea, the primary energy boost is caffeine. But with energy drinks, there is more in play than caffeine, thanks to the use of tons of ingredients.
Taurine is one such ingredient. This amino acid is naturally present in the body. But what manufacturers use in energy drinks is a synthetic form. It works in elevating energy levels as well as regulating heartbeat and muscle contractions. Based on numerous studies, there is no need to take supplements of this amino acid. It owes to the body’s ability to generate enough for these uses. However, some studies point to deficiencies of the same, owing to underlying health conditions. Manufacturers use it in drinks given that it allows consumers to function as needed, even when under stimulation. Additionally, it improves blood flow and thus increases oxygen supply all over the body. The result of this is added energy.
B vitamins are also present in many energy drinks in the market. The premise of these ingredients lies in their energy supplementation. You can get these vitamins from maintaining a healthy diet, though supplements may be necessary. They work in helping the body convert food consumed into energy.
Manufacturers often use these in their drinks, hoping that they will add to the energy levels. The jury is still out on whether these ingredients have any effect on the overall performance of the drinks. However, in the long term, regular energy drink consumers should experience a boost in spirits.
After an intense workout, you are sure to feel exhausted. Energy drinks come in handy by providing you with vitamins and electrolytes. The latter also works in hydrating the body when one goes through bouts of diarrhea and vomiting. However, you should note that not all energy drinks have such properties. Most contain caffeine, sugar, vitamins, and other additives. When you ingest an energy drink that has electrolytes, you prevent dizziness, mental hazes, and muscle fatigue, among other effects. Helping you feel refreshed is one of the benefits of energy drinks.
The other owes to their cold temperatures, coupled with the fact that most of them are carbonated. Downing this on a hot day will leave you feeling refreshed. This feeling cannot compare to other caffeinated drinks. Can you imagine taking coffee when the sun is overhead? It would not feel refreshing at all. If anything, it might leave you flustered.
This refreshment also comes along owing to quenching of thirst. Maybe you feel parched and need something to hydrate you. These drinks can work for this. You should keep in mind that these drinks are not water. As such, you cannot use them as a substitute for clean water. Doing so can dehydrate you.
Ease of Access
Think about how long it takes for you to enjoy a nice cup of coffee. You start by brewing the coffee, waiting for it to cool, then drinking it. If you need an immediate energy boost, this waiting can seem like a lot. That is not the case with energy drinks. If you want to enjoy it, all you have to do is open the can and pour the contents into your mouth. With that much convenience, it is not a surprise that most young people enjoy these drinks.
Affordability as a benefit
How much does it cost to get a great cup of coffee? In most cases, people end up spending about $5 on drinks. That can weigh heavily on your finances, more so when it is a frequent purchase. The same does not hold for energy drinks that are available at fair prices. Some manufacturers offer their products at retail prices as low as $1. That means that you can have as many as five energy drinks at the cost of one cup of coffee. These savings make these drinks the go-to, more so for people who are keen on prices.
How is your concentration when working on tasks? Some people face mental fog, and this hampers their ability to deliver excellent work. When you are in such a rut, you can rely on an energy boost. Studies show that caffeine works in improving memory in the long-term. Additionally, it also enhances focus such that you can take in information with ease. It is no wonder so many people rely on coffee when they are working late nights and early mornings.
Sometimes, you may feel moody and unmotivated to do anything. When this happens, you can use an energy drink to get your spirits high and get some work done. It owes to the presence of B vitamins, which work in regulating people’s moods. You should be careful with this use, though. You could end up masking the reason behind the moodiness by using energy boosts.
Most energy drinks contain antioxidants and healthy nutrients, such as B vitamins. Thus, regular use of energy drinks works in adding these beneficial nutrients to your body. That way, you can prevent damage to cells owing to free radicals in the body. Beneficial nutrients, in this case, would be C, E, and A.
What’s the limit?
With all the above benefits of energy drinks, it is important not to forget the downsides. You should consume with caution, lest you suffer adverse side effects. In some cases, addiction to these drinks could also occur. That’s because these drinks have high caffeine content.
Work on figuring out how much caffeine you can consume, considering all factors. For example, people with heart conditions should be careful when consuming these drinks. An increase in palpitations could cause cardiac arrest, which could be fatal.
Children and teens should not use these drinks. In recent years, it has become apparent that young people have taken to using these drinks for energy boosts. It does not help that these drinks are available to anyone, and children can get them off store shelves. The disadvantage of this is that the caffeine levels in most of these drinks are too high for these developing bodies.
Energy drinks have their fair share of benefits, making them a popular beverage. However, they also have a few downsides, some of which could cause fatalities. You should thus consume these products with caution. All the best!