Energy drinks are a great source of energy boost for days when you need an extra push to get through your day. With the increasing demand for energy drinks, various brands have surfaced with energy drinks customized according to the need of the consumers.
With so many options and varieties to choose from, finding the best energy drink for yourself can be quite a task.
If you are wondering which energy drink is good for you without trying them all out yourself, you need to know more about what goes into an energy drink.
What works for you and is a good energy source for you might not work for somebody else since it depends on how much of an energy boost you require and the lifestyle and diet you follow.
In this article, I will discuss the different aspects of energy drinks that can affect their quality and effectiveness. Let’s get started!
Main Ingredients In An Energy Drink
We will start with the basics of an energy drink: its main ingredients.
What goes into an energy drink defines how it will affect your health and body.
The main ingredients of an energy drink are almost identical for every brand with the difference in their quantity and the addition of some eccentric ingredients.
The ingredients you are likely to find at the back of most energy drink cans are discussed below.
Most energy drinks provide a caffeinated energy boost with an exception of a few. Caffeine is used as the main active ingredient in energy drinks.
The stimulating properties of caffeine can block the feeling of fatigue and make you feel active and alive. It can enhance brain function, improve focus, and reduce reaction time.
However, these benefits of caffeine are only limited to its moderate consumption. Overconsumption of caffeine can lead to the following health risks:
- Elevated blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Anxiety and jitters
Therefore, FDA suggests a daily upper limit of caffeine intake of 400mg per day. Make sure you consume an energy drink that contains caffeine in a moderate amount. Basically, 100-120mg of caffeine per can is enough to keep you active all day.
Sugar is another ingredient common to most energy drinks. It can provide a quick energy boost and add an addictive flavor to the drink.
But the side effects related to the consumption of added sugar overshadow its benefits. Consuming high amounts of sugar can lead to the following:
- Excessive weight gain
- High blood pressure
- Risk of heart diseases
- Risk of type 2 diabetes
The daily recommended sugar intake is approximately 24g and 36g for women and men respectively. Consuming more than this can lead to unpleasant health consequences.
If you are skeptical about consuming sugar-filled energy drinks, then there are plenty of sugar-free options as well.
Going for a sugar-free energy drink is a relatively healthier choice. Most sugar-free energy drinks contain artificial sweeteners like sucralose, and acesulfame potassium to add a pleasant flavor to the drink.
Amino acids like ta urine and BCAAs in the formula enhance physical strength and endurance. They build muscle strength and speed up muscle repair.
Common amino acids included in energy drinks are discussed below.
Taurine is an amino sulfonic acid that is found in meat, seafood, and dairy. It is used in energy drinks for the following benefits:
- Keeps you hydrated and maintains proper electrolyte balance
- Improves exercise performance and delays fatigue
- Improves heart health
BCAAs or Branched Chain Amino Acids include three essential amino acids: leucine, valine, and isoleucine. They are found protein-rich foods and provide the following benefits:
- Improves muscle mass and reduces muscle damage
- Reduces muscle fatigue and improves recovery time
- Improves athletic performance
Vitamins play an important role in maintaining the overall health of your body. They are essential for the function and regulation of various body processes.
Energy drinks are usually filled with B vitamins since they help convert protein, fat, and carbohydrates into energy. Here are some of the common B vitamins included in most energy drinks
|Vitamin B2||Enhances the energy production and improves the health of nerves and muscles|
|Vitamin B3||Helps fight fatigue and improves brain function|
|Vitamin B5||Improves the production of red blood cells|
|Vitamin B6||Helps fight symptoms of depression and improves brain health|
|Vitamin B12||Improves the energy levels of the body and strengthens the immune system|
Guarana Seed Extract
Guarana is a Brazilian plant that contains a blend of stimulants like caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine.
It is used in energy drinks as a source of mental strength and energy. Following are the benefits of Guarana Seed Extract:
- Rich source of antioxidants
- Improves the energy levels of the body and improves focus
- Enhances memory and improves brain function
- Reduces the effect of pain
Ginseng Root Extract
Due to its various health benefits, ginseng has been used as a traditional medicine for a year. The main components of ginseng are ginsenosides and gintonin.
The addition of ginseng to energy drinks brings the following benefits:
- Enhance brain function
- Strengthens the immune system
- Helps fight fatigue and improves energy production
Are Energy Drinks Bad For You?
Energy drinks are not bad for you as long as you consume them in moderation.
Energy drinks will provide you with the required energy boost helping you to perform at your best both mentally and physically. Consuming energy drinks occasionally to get that extra push is not a problem at all.
But regular consumption of energy drinks can lead to caffeine dependency. This is likely to result in overconsumption of energy drinks leading to bad heart health, dehydration, and restlessness.
Instead, energy drinks work the best when your body is healthy and hydrated. To prevent energy drinks from harming your health and body, make sure you consume them responsibly.
Do Energy Drinks Actually Work?
Energy drinks contain a blend of ingredients that enhance your energy levels and make you feel active and awake.
Ingredients like caffeine and guarana, boost brain function and improve focus. Amino acids along with B vitamins help with the physical performance of your body.
Amino acids like taurine and BCAAs enhance muscle strength and reduce recovery time after an intense workout session. They help you perform for longer hours.
The key is that you go for an energy drink that provides an energy boost with a blend of ingredients that are safe to consume and is unlikely to result in health issues in the long run.
Benefits Of Energy Drinks
Moderate consumption of energy drinks can help you maximize your mental and physical strength. Whether you have an exam or an intense workout session, energy drinks will help you achieve your goal with ease.
Athletes and bodybuilders, usually consume energy drinks that are rich in amino acids like BCAAs. This increases their muscle strength and delays exhaustion.
For a mental boost, energy drinks with caffeine and natural stimulants like ginseng and guarana extract work best.
Side Effects Of Energy Drinks
Energy drinks can cause side effects only when they are consumed in excess.
Overconsuming energy drinks can lead to various side effects since it contains ingredients like sugar and caffeine. Moreover, energy boosters like taurine, ginseng, and guarana do not have an official daily intake limit but consuming too much of them can hinder your health.
The following table shows the daily recommended intake for various ingredients included in an energy drink.
|Ingredients||Daily Recommended Intake|
|Sugar||24g and 36g for women and men respectively|
|Sucralose (artificial sweetener)||5mg per kg body weight|
|Acesulfame Potassium (artificial sweetener)||15mg per kg body weight|
|Ginseng root extract||200-400mg|
|Guarana Seed extract||50-75mg|
Make sure the energy drink you are consuming has a safe balance of the ingredients included in its formula. Ingredients like taurine, ginseng, and guarana are safe to consume but exceeding the said limit can lead to unpleasant health consequences.
What Is A Good Energy Drink?
A good energy drink contains a balanced amount of all the ingredients necessary to provide a mental and physical boost.
There is no set rule for the analysis of a good energy drink, it depends upon your taste and energy requirements. The important factor is the ingredients in its formula. As long as the drink contains ingredients that are safe to consume and are not in excess, you don’t have anything to worry about.
But no matter the brand, excess consumption is not recommended for any energy drink as it can lead to irregular heartbeat, risk of heart attacks can cause dehydration, and can hinder your sleep.
Best Energy Drinks For An Effective Energy Boost
Some energy drink brands that you can try out that can provide you with an effective energy boost are as follows:
- Generally, a good energy drink is one that can serve its function―provide a significant boost in your mental and physical performance―while containing a balanced amount of the necessary nutrients and ingredients.
- Another thing to consider is your preferences and tolerance. Some people may prefer beverages with low caffeine while others may prefer energy drinks with more caffeine content.
- Energy drinks are usually safe to consume for healthy individuals unless you drink them excessively. Remember, moderation is the key!