Have you ever stopped to think about what is actually going on in your body when you throw back your favorite energy drink?
How is the Caffeine broken down, and how does it affect your metabolism? How long does it stay active in your system, and why do people crave it?
In this article, we’ll try to answer these questions and more. So get comfortable, and keep reading - let’s dive in!
What Are Energy Drinks?
Energy beverages are marketed as colorful, fizzy drinks that claim to enhance mental and physical performance. Caffeine is the most commonly found stimulant on their ingredient lists, but some brands contain other plant-based stimulants, such as Ginseng and Guarana.
The amount of Caffeine found in different energy drinks can range from 80 mg to over 500 mg. For comparison, one 5-ounce cup of java contains around 80 to 100 mg of Caffeine.
Like soda pop, energy drinks are often high in sugar. For example, a 250 ml can of the leading energy drink contains a whopping 27 grams of sugar! That’s a lot of sugar, especially when you consider that the recommended daily intake of sugar is no more than 25 grams. Just one measly energy drink can throw you far over the daily limit - let that sink in!
Too much of anything is never a good thing, but this is especially true of sugar. Although it may help to give you an initial boost of energy, the side effects are not exactly favorable. Excess sugar in your diet can lead to obesity, among other things, which can contribute to many other serious health complications.
How Do Energy Drinks Affect The Body?
So, what exactly do energy drinks do to the body after we consume them? Great question.
Caffeine enters the bloodstream within 10 to 20 minutes of drinking an energy drink, triggering a rise in heart rate and blood pressure.
Over the next 15 to 45 minutes, Caffeine levels in the bloodstream peak. As a result, an individual will feel more alert, focused and experience a higher level of concentration.
When you really think about it, Caffeine is a crafty drug. It temporarily blocks adenosine (a chemical involved in how tired we feel), providing an energy boost, while allowing “feel-good” molecules in the brain - such as dopamine - to be released more readily. You’ll feel more attentive, and you’ll feel better about yourself.
All of the Caffeine is usually absorbed within 15 to 30 minutes of consumption, and by this time, the sugar from the energy drink has already been absorbed and is making its way into the bloodstream. Within an hour or two, the effects of the Caffeine will begin to wear off, and a sugar crash may also occur. Your energy levels will begin to drop, and tiredness will set in.
It will take your body around 5 to 6 hours to achieve a 50% reduction in the amount of Caffeine in the bloodstream - known as the “half-life.”
On average, it will take twelve hours for the body to completely remove caffeine from the bloodstream, but this varies depending on a few individual factors, such as:
The speed and efficiency of Caffeine clearance tends to increase with age, reaching a peak in adulthood. As previously mentioned, Caffeine is known to have a half-life of 5 to 6 hours in adults, whereas in infants, the half-life of caffeine averages 80 hours - a pretty large contrast.
An individual's personal attributes such as height, weight, and body fat can also influence how rapidly Caffeine is metabolized by the body. A person who is tall and heavy will likely break down 100 mg of Caffeine much faster than a person who is short and light. Usually, the greater the Caffeine dosage consumed relative to your body size, the slower you’ll clear it - and vice versa. Since having greater body fat is known to speed up metabolism, people with more fat may process Caffeine at a much faster rate.
It’s well-documented that genes can influence the way your body metabolizes Caffeine. Studies have reported that people with specific genes can break down Caffeine up to 40-times quicker than individuals with other genes. This means some individuals may experience rapid metabolism and excretion of this popular stimulant, whereas others may experience prolonged clearance times.
Absorption of Caffeine is also greatly affected by the presence of food. Someone who drinks an energy drink on an empty stomach will absorb Caffeine at a much faster rate than someone consuming it after a large lunch. Specifically, people who consume a meal high in dietary fiber beforehand will not absorb Caffeine as quickly. Due to potential delays in absorption time as a result of food intake, the time it takes for Caffeine to leave your body may also be affected.
You may notice that when you regularly utilize caffeine, its positive effects can decrease over time. This is known as caffeine tolerance and it can also shorten your experience of caffeine’s effects as well.
What is Caffeine Withdrawal?
If you are used to drinking Caffeine on a regular basis, you might experience withdrawal if you stop consuming it. In fact, many studies suggest that you might experience withdrawal symptoms within 12 to 24 hours of your last caffeinated beverage.
Caffeine withdrawal symptoms typically resolve within 48 hours. However, if you’re used to consuming many energy drinks throughout the day, quitting cold turkey could make your withdrawal symptoms more severe and cause a flushed face, nervousness, difficulty sleeping, and other undesirable issues.
The best way to cut Caffeine is to decrease the amount you consume every day. You can simply reduce the number of caffeinated products you consume, or you can swap out synthetically caffeinated drinks for natural energy drinks - like the ones found at Proper Wild.
Natural energy drinks are made with Caffeine that comes from naturally-occurring sources, like green tea, for example. Natural Caffeine is rarely ever found on its own; it’s often present with a range of healthy vitamins and amino acids. These substances balance the lift and fall of the Caffeine in your system and assist in delivering it to your body in a steady manner. This promotes a more sustainable energy boost, as opposed to synthetic Caffeine, and provides focus and mental clarity for longer periods of time.
This gradual, sustained release of natural Caffeine can help you avoid the side effects, jitters and subsequent crash commonly associated with the synthetic Caffeine that is commonly found in most popular energy beverages.
So, how long do energy drinks last? The answer is: It varies.
The primary ingredient found in energy drinks is Caffeine, which is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system. When it reaches your brain, the most noticeable effect is energy (obviously!) and alertness.
Depending on many factors like your age, body weight, genetics, and food intake, Caffeine can be quickly or slowly metabolized by the body.
Most energy drinks are made with synthetic Caffeine and can leave you feeling tired and dizzy. If you need a powerful jolt of energy but want to avoid the crash, try swapping your commercial energy drink for clean energy drinks, like Proper Wild.
Unlike traditional energy drinks, Proper Wild uses organic Caffeine from green tea to provide energized focus and boosted productivity. In addition, these super energy shots have 15 times more L-Theanine than an average cup of green tea, which works synergistically with Caffeine to promote a good mood, without the jitters or crash.
Once you experience the difference that clean energy drinks can have on your health and mood, you’ll never want to drink another synthetically caffeinated commercial energy drink again!