Customers want to lose weight successfully, and the supplement industry makes money. Whether as shots, in cans or as powder – you can do big business with energy drinks.
In the UK, sales were 3.5 billion pounds in 2022, an increase of 5.8 % compared to 2021. Sales in the USA were even $14.5 billion in 2021.
According to Packaged Facts, a market research firm, that number will rise to $16 billion by 2025.
Energy drinks are universally popular, but do they live up to their promises? And more importantly…do they do no harm? A leading personal trainer in Hamburg reveals the truth about these popular drinks.
The good news: Energy drinks increase alertness and reduce fatigue.
The bad news: The price for this is quite high.
Energy drinks are traded as herbal dietary supplements and (unlike lemonade) they are not regulated, meaning the manufacturer can add all sorts of substances in any quantity.
So with that in mind, let's look at the three main ingredients of energy drinks:
1) Caffeine – The recommended amount of caffeine is between 100 and 200 mg per day (source: The Mayo Clinic website). Energy drinks contain between 80 mg and 500 mg per can.
Why do energy drinks contain caffeine? Caffeine increases attention, provides energy and increases the ability to concentrate. Unfortunately, if you consume too much, it also increases nervousness, can lead to tremors and accelerate your heartbeat.
Just one energy drink can increase your heart rate by up to 14 points, so if you suffer from high blood pressure you should definitely avoid it. Many companies also add taurine (an amino acid) to increase the effects of caffeine.
2) Vitamin B – Energy drinks contain tons of vitamin B, in most cases up to eight different ones.
According to Dr. Keri Peterson However, these do not increase energy unless you are vitamin B deficient, although most of us get enough vitamin B from our daily diet.
There is actually no such thing as an overdose of vitamin B, except for vitamins B3 (niacin) and B6.
An overdose of B3 can cause blurred vision, poor liver function tests, stomach problems, and facial swelling.
Many energy drinks contain up to 150 % of the recommended daily amount of vitamin B3.
An overdose of vitamin B6 can cause numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, says Dr. Peterson.
3) Natural stimulants – Many energy drinks contain guarana for the ultimate energy kick. A guarana seed contains twice as much caffeine as a coffee bean.
Many drinks also contain ginseng, which is said to increase brain performance, but only at a dose above 200 mg (most energy drinks contain less than 200 mg). However, ginseng can interact with blood thinners, so in this case it is advisable to avoid energy drinks.
Of course, energy drinks also contain sugar, up to 14 teaspoons per serving.
In comparison, lemonade contains up to 11 teaspoons per serving.
The recommended daily allowance of sugar is 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men (source: American Heart Association).
So if you only drink one energy drink, you have already exceeded the recommended daily allowance, which could potentially lead to weight gain.
If you type “deaths due to energy drinks” into Google, you will get numerous reports of deaths that are related to the consumption of energy drinks.
The Fit4TheGame personal trainers in Hamburg are quick to point out that energy drinks are also associated with insomnia, headaches, restlessness and cramps.
In the United States, the number of people who had to go to the emergency room after consuming energy drinks increased from just under 10,000 in 2007 to 21,000 in 2011, more than double (source: US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration -Report.)
The age group that recorded the most emergency department visits was 18 to 25 years old, followed by 26 to 39 year olds. More than half of these visits could be attributed to the consumption of energy drinks.
The remaining 42 % resulted from the combination of energy drinks and “other drugs,” the report continues.
The fact is: Energy drinks provide a short-term energy kick, but afterwards you are usually even more exhausted and the side effects are questionable.
If you consume energy drinks, you should only do so sporadically. They are by no means suitable for children, and you should never mix the drinks with alcohol. Consumption before, during or after training should also be avoided.
Are you thinking about starting a new exercise program so you can successfully lose weight? Are you thinking about getting professional support and expertise on board for this?
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