Energy drinks are, for the most part, harmless-looking beverages that try to come off as edgier soft drinks, but one look at their nutrition labels and long ingredient lists tells an entirely different story...
Since Red Bull was introduced in the 80’s, energy drinks have become one of the most prevalent types of beverages lining grocery store shelves. Some of the most well-known brands of energy drinks besides Red Bull are Rockstar, NOS, Amp, and 5-Hour Energy, but there are more than 500 energy drinks on the market! Some popular soft-drink manufacturers have even entered the arena, and some brands have upped the ante by making outrageous health claims in an attempt to increase sales.
In the last few years, research has supported that consuming too many energy beverages can be hazardous. Many of these fizzy drinks contain levels of Caffeine so incredibly high that they have severe negative effects on the cardiovascular system.
Despite the risks, major energy drink manufacturers continue to aggressively market their products, especially to young people, who are most at risk for developing health problems if they drink too many of these popular beverages. The companies target these specific individuals by sponsoring sporting and other popular events of interest to young adults and teens, and making false claims about health benefits.
Statistics show that sales continue to climb, despite the health risks. Even scrutiny from the FDA has not impacted sales, which have steadily increased since 2013. But what exactly are in these questionable drinks, and what makes them so harmful? Keep reading to find out.
Sipping a beverage that offers a quick jolt of energy may appeal to individuals who feel tired throughout the day and are in need of a little pick-me-up. Although statements on the websites of many energy drink manufacturers warn that these beverages may not be suitable for children, younger consumers are among their largest consumers.
An energy beverage may be used by teens or college students cramming for exams, or by young athletes before a crucial game. While it's true that some controlled trials have shown temporarily-improved alertness and focus after consuming energy drinks, as well as enhanced physical performance, the majority of studies also show an association with negative side effects from these commercial energy beverages.
Some of the major concerns with traditional energy drinks include:
Amplified negative health effects in adolescents
Marketing tactics geared towards youth
Negative health outcomes
Excessive use of Caffeine & artificial Caffeine
High sugar content
Dangers with alcohol
Lack of regulation
What Are The Harmful Ingredients?
As previously mentioned, there are well over 500 different types of energy drinks on the market. Many of these beverages have similar ingredient lists, but use different artificial sweeteners and artificial flavors to give them their own “personal touch.”
Here are the most commonly found ingredients that may be harmful to your health:
Excessive Amounts of B Vitamins
Sure, B vitamins are absolutely necessary for good health, but too much of a good thing isn't always a good thing. Some of the popular energy drinks on the market today contain extremely high levels of B3 (niacin) and B6, which in excess, are known to cause gastrointestinal problems, skin conditions, liver toxicity, nerve damage, and even blurred vision. To give you an example, one very popular leading energy drink brand contains over 200% of the recommended daily limit of niacin. That is a lot of niacin in just one serving!
High Levels of Taurine
Taurine is an ingredient commonly found in many popular energy drinks. It's an amino acid that is essential in several of the body's metabolic processes and supports neurological development, and regulates the number of minerals and water in the blood. However, too much taurine combined with caffeine might have negative effects on the adolescent brain, according to animal studies analyzing the two stimulants.
Sugar and Sugar Substitutes
Most energy drinks contain extremely high levels of sugar, or more commonly, high fructose corn syrup: a less expensive (and less healthy) alternative to real sugar. Too much sugar can lead to obesity and can negatively affect blood sugar levels, which acts as a gateway to other serious health issues.
Recently, some brands have introduced "sugar-free" or "diet" versions of their drinks that include artificial sweeteners in an attempt to make energy drinks a little “healthier”. The problem is, however, that artificial sweeteners and flavors tend to do more harm than good, and should be avoided.
Most energy drinks contain 2-5 times more Caffeine than the average cup of coffee. If you’re enjoying these drinks in moderation, though, consuming this amount of Caffeine per day isn’t usually a major issue. However, the problem is that most of these drinks use synthetic Caffeine.
Synthetic Caffeine is a much cheaper alternative to natural plant-based Caffeine, and is mass-produced by companies to be highly potent, which can be detrimental to your health.
Synthesized Caffeine, unlike natural Caffeine, is absorbed more quickly, potentially causing anxiousness and a quicker, harsher crash.
Are There Healthier Energy Drinks?
Yes! If you're in need of an energy boost, avoid commercial energy drinks and reach for clean, plant-based energy drinks, like the ones found at Proper Wild.
Proper Wild’s Clean All Day Energy Shots are 100% plant-based and include absolutely no preservatives, no added sugar, and are very low in calories. The organic Caffeine used to create these powerful shots is sourced from organic green tea leaves to provide clean, long-lasting all day energy. Each shot includes organic juices, and 15 times more L-theanine than a standard cup of green tea, which enhances the effectiveness of Caffeine for heightened focus and productivity, all without the jitters!
These powerful energy shots are tasty, clean, and easy to drink - and the best part? No crash.
There is a sea of energy products on the market that all promise to boost energy. Although these colorful cans seem tempting, the truth is that most of them are loaded with calories, harmful ingredients, artificial additives - and lies.
Sure, they may provide you with an initial jolt of energy, but once the Caffeine and sugar wear off, you are going to crash, and hard. Not to mention all of the added sugar that will go directly to your waistline!
We're not saying to avoid energy drinks altogether; we're all human, and life can get really busy from time-to-time, prompting the need for a little pick-me-up. But what we are saying is that not all energy drinks are created equal, and the majority of the options on shelves today get their Caffeine synthetically sourced from overseas.