Most of the energy we get from energy drinks comes from good old caffeine. The amount contained in each beverage varies greatly – from 80 milligrams in an 8.4-ounce Red Bull to a whopping 357 milligrams in a 16-ounce Bang energy drink — according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Compare that to 35 milligrams in a 12-ounce Coke or 330 milligrams in a regular 16-ounce Starbucks coffee.
Ginseng is a species of slow-growing perennial plants found in North America and eastern Asia. There’s no evidence that the herb does anything to boost energy, and it’s actually been shown to decrease exercise endurance. Since it also lowers blood sugar, people who takes diabetes medications should avoid consuming energy drinks with ginseng.
Some energy drinks contain more than 60 grams of sugar — or 15 1/2 teaspoons’ worth — per 16-ounce can. That can easily stack up to 250 calories per can, about as much as a 20-ounce bottle of cola. The sugar in energy drinks causes blood sugar and insulin spikes, which later results in a “crash-like” feeling.
Taurine is an amino acid that may help boost athletic performance and metabolism. Studies have suggested that it may also have antioxidant properties. Taurine is generally considered safe in doses of up to 3,000 mg a day.
A naturally-occurring chemical produced by the body, glucuronolactone is a common ingredient in energy drinks, but its actual energy effects remain unknown. In one study, glucuronolactone extended the amount of time that test animals were able to swim by more than other substances that were tested.
Green Tea Extract
Used to deliver a kick without the jolt, green tea extract delivers small amounts of caffeine. While studies confirm that it’s a source of cancer fighting antioxidants, there’s not enough research to back up claims that it can lower blood pressure or help with weight loss.
So what’s the verdict? Energy drinks may give you wings, but they contain ingredients which haven’t been adequately studied and may affect the body in unknown ways. There’s just not enough evidence yet to say for certain whether or not the beverages are bad for you.
In the meantime, grab an old-fashioned cup of coffee when you need a lift. Better yet, try a nap or getting enough sleep at night to begin with. Not only does sleep promote energy naturally, but it helps heal your heart and blood vessels.
Source: Huffington Post