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Do Energy Drinks Actually Work? (The Truth)

Energy drinks, as the name implies are designed to increase the energy levels of your body. The formula of an energy drink contains ingredients that improve brain function and enhance physical strength.

The popularity of energy drinks is because of the fact that it satisfies the craving for an energy boost any time of the day. It is a quick fix to your dull and tiring day.

If you are thinking of trying energy drinks for the first time, you might be wondering, do energy drinks actually work?

The short answer to this question is yes energy drinks do provide an energy boost. This happens because they are a mix of such ingredients that stimulate brain function and improve physical activity.

How well and for how long an energy drink works depends upon the blend of ingredients it contains. Each ingredient is meant to work individually to create a collective impact on the body improving your focus, stamina, and endurance.

Main Ingredients Of An Energy Drink

Energy drinks are a source of energy boost because of the ingredients they contain. The formula of an energy drink is what makes it different from a regular soft drink.

Different brands have come up with different blends of ingredients to make the energy boost more long-lasting and efficient but the basic ingredients remain the same for all.

These basic ingredients just vary in quantity depending upon the intensity of the energy boost the drink aims to provide.

Following are the main ingredients of an energy drink

Caffeine

Coffee beans

Caffeine is the cornerstone of an energy drink. Caffeine is one of the ingredients that differ energy drinks from soft drinks.

Caffeine due to its stimulating properties is used as the main active ingredient in energy drinks. As caffeine is absorbed into the bloodstream, it increases the heart rate which makes you feel more alert and active.

Caffeine is absorbed completely in your body within 45 minutes of consumption. This is when your energy level will peak. The experience lasts from anywhere between 4-5 hours depending upon your sensitivity to caffeine.

Caffeine has various benefits including enhanced focus, better metabolism, and improved stamina but overconsumption of caffeine has been related to many side effects.

Some of these side effects include

  • Jitters
  • Anxiety
  • Severe headache
  • Elevated blood pressure

It can also cause insomnia in extreme cases or if you consume caffeine in high amounts before bedtime.

Sugar

Sugar is used in energy drinks as a source of flavor and energy boost. Sugar gives a temporary rush of energy and therefore is often used in energy drinks in high amounts.

Sugar increases the insulin level in the bloodstream which promotes energy production. Even though sugar is a source of energy, too much consumption of added sugars can lead to various health problems.

These health problems include

  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Risk of heart disease
  • Risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Weight gain

Since sugar provides an unsustainable energy boost, you are likely to experience a sugar crash after the effects of the high amount of sugar consumption wear out. This will leave you feeling low and tired.

Due to the concerns related to the negative impact of added sugars on health, most energy drink brands came up with sugar-free versions of the drink.

Sugar-free energy drinks contain artificial sweeteners to provide the same flavor to the drink and have lower risks of a sugar crash or other side effects related to sugar.

Taurine

Taurine is mostly used in energy drinks as it is known to enhance exercise performance.

Taurine is amino-sulfonic acid found naturally in meat, fish, and dairy products. Due to its wide range of benefits, it is also consumed as a dietary supplement.

Taurine improves the overall health of your body. Some of the benefits of taurine include the maintenance of hydration and electrolytes in the body, improving digestion, and maintaining the general function of the nervous system.

One of the main roles of taurine is improving athletic performance. It strengthens the muscles and delays fatigue. This helps the consumer to perform physical activities for longer hours without feeling tired.

Taurine also contributes to better brain function when combined with caffeine. This combination clears the mind and fights mental fatigue.

Ginseng Root Extract

Ginseng benefits your health in various ways and therefore has been used for medicinal purposes for many years.

Ginseng is a rich source of antioxidants. It protects against cell damage and reduces the impact of oxidative stress.

Studies have proven that ginseng strengthens the immune system, protects you against various diseases, and also helps fight fatigue and tiredness.

A person who is tired

Apart from improving physical energy, ginseng also boosts brain function. By generating the feeling of calmness, ginseng improves focus and helps you concentrate better.

Guarana Seed Extract

Guarana Seed is obtained from a Brazilian plant. It is used in the energy drink industry because it is a rich source of energy-inducing ingredients such as caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline.

Due to these ingredients, guarana has a very similar effect as caffeine in the body.

With the ability to reduce fatigue, raise energy levels, and enhance brain function, guarana is a key ingredient in most energy drinks.

Some other benefits of guarana include

  • Promotes weight loss
  • Improves heart health
  • Helps with pain relief
  • Possesses antibacterial properties

For more information, have a look at this video:

B-Vitamins

B-vitamins play a major role in converting the food we eat into energy. This makes them an essential part of energy drinks.

Apart from energy production, b-vitamins are also essential for maintaining the overall health of your body.

Some essential B-vitamins included in energy drinks along with their function are given below.

VitaminsFunctions
Vitamin B2Increases energy production in the body and helps in the absorption of iron, Vitamins B1, B3, and B6
Vitamin B3It acts as an antioxidant and contributes to the making and repairing of DNA
Vitamins B6Promotes brain health and reduces symptoms of depression
Vitamin B7Improves metabolism and is essential for the health of hair and nails
Vitamin B12It increases the production of red blood cells and improves the health of nerve cells

Do Energy Drinks Actually Work?

Based on the list of basic ingredients of energy drinks, it can be concluded that energy drinks actually work.

The energy boost is temporary and depends upon the quantity and combination of ingredients certain energy drinks contain.

The energy boost mainly depends upon caffeine, but it is only effective and long-term if the right ingredients are used to maximize and enhance the effects of caffeine in the body.

There are various types of energy drinks, depending on your energy requirements. Whether you are looking for a sugar-free energy drink or an intense rush of energy, the energy drink market has got you all covered.

How Long Does It Take For An Energy Drink To Kick-In?

A person with an energy drink

Since a major active ingredient in energy drinks is caffeine, the energy boost depends upon how sensitive your body is to caffeine.

Usually, caffeine elevates energy levels 10-15 minutes after consumption. This energy boost reaches its peak in about 45 minutes and lasts for about 4-5 hours.

Caffeine works by blocking a brain chemical that generates the feeling of tiredness. This way your body feels active and energized. Caffeine effectiveness is enhanced by ingredients like taurine, ginseng, and guarana.

If you are sensitive to caffeine even small doses can impact your energy levels to a great extent. Usually, regular consumption of caffeine increases the caffeine tolerance of your body.

Can You Drink Energy Drinks Every Day?

You can drink energy drinks every day, but the key is that you keep track of your daily caffeine and sugar consumption.

If you are planning on drinking energy drinks daily, I would suggest going for a sugar-free drink as it would minimize the long-term side effects of regular consumption of added sugars.

A drawback of drinking energy drinks every day is that your body will get used to the energy boost and will fail to function properly without it. This will naturally increase your daily consumption of energy drinks leading to various health problems.

The smart choice is to consume energy drinks moderately. If your lifestyle requires otherwise then go for a drink with low caffeine and sugar content.

Are Energy Drinks Bad For You?

Energy drinks are only bad for you if do not drink them responsibly.

Two of the main ingredients in a regular can of energy drink are sugar and caffeine. To make sure an energy drink does not harm your health, keep track of how much caffeine and sugar you are consuming in a day.

FDA approves a daily caffeine limit of 400mg.

The recommended intake of sugar is 24g and 36g for women and men respectively.

Exceeding these daily limits will have unpleasant consequences. Some side effects of excess sugar and caffeine consumption include

  • Weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Risk of heart and kidney diseases
  • Dehydration

Energy drinks are a source of energy and stamina if consumed in moderation. They are not a replacement for energy and nutrients obtained through your diet.

If you are limiting yourself to one serving of energy drink per day then you are good to go.

Is It Safe To Consume Energy Drinks?

Yes, energy drinks are safe to consume in moderation.

Energy drinks are associated with many negative notions but how energy drinks impact your body can easily be controlled. The key is that you are aware of the ingredients and the quantity in which you are consuming them.

Anything if consumed in excess can become a danger to your health. The same stands true for energy drinks.

Drinking an energy drink occasionally, when you absolutely require an external source of energy, is completely fine. But if you drink it in excess regularly, it can impact your health negatively.

Bottom Line

A Red Bull

In conclusion, energy drinks are a mix of caffeine, sugar, vitamins, and some energy-boosting ingredients. The aim is to produce an instant boost of energy that will help you feel alert and energized.

The ingredients work together to enhance your mental and physical strength making you more focused and attentive.

The key is that you consume energy drinks in moderation. This way you can avail the benefits of an energy drink without putting your health at any risk.