Ask a room full of people about energy drinks, and you’re likely to get a room full of different responses. Some people love them, some hate them, and a fair amount fall squarely in the middle. Shape Magazine attempts to shed some light on the issue by breaking down what energy drinks contain, and how they can affect the body.
Whether you’re a regular consumer of energy drinks, or only pop the tab of one occasionally, there are some things everyone needs to know before consuming one.
Energy Drinks Aren’t All Bad All the Time
Everyone has one or two things in their lives they need extra and energy and focus to accomplish. Personally, I turned to energy drinks during sorority recruitment to stay awake and enthused during a long week of mingling. For others, energy drinks can be used to stay alert at work, or power through your workout.
Energy Drinks Can Help Sustain Focus
It’s proven that energy drinks can dramatically increase your ability to focus and stay that way. A study cited in Shape Magazine found that truck drivers who had an energy drink before they started their drive were able to drive more accurately for a longer period of time. Though you’re probably not driving trucks, the same effects of energy drinks can help you stay focused on the task at hand, whatever it may be.
Caffeine is a Safe Performance Enhancer
Caffeine is the primary ingredient in energy drinks that give you that get-up-and-go feeling. It’s also a well-documented and safe performance enhancer, though Jillian Michaels caused quite a scandal when she gave caffeine supplements to her team on The Biggest Loser last season. Perhaps it would have been better to provide energy drinks instead. They provide similar performance-enhancing benefits.
Remember to Take Breaks
Even if your energy drink has you feeling like you can go forever, don’t. You may have gotten enough of an energy boost from the drink to keep on keepin’ on, but your body will thank you later if you take even a short break from whatever you’re working on to step away and relax. Doing so can actually prolong the effects of your energy drink.
Energy Drinks and Alcohol Do Not Mix
You may be tempted to mix your energy drinks and alcohol, like Red Bull and vodka, but avoid the temptation. Alcohol is a sedative, and energy drinks are a stimulant which means their effects can counteract each other. Scientists have recently confirmed the phenomenon of “wide awake drunkenness,” which refers to a dangerous condition causing people feel less intoxicated than they actually are.
Caffeine Content Can Vary a Lot by Brand
Not all energy drinks are the same when it comes to caffeine content. According to Shape, the caffeine levels in energy drinks vary from about the same amount is a single shot of espresso to just under five shots of espresso. It’s important to pay attention to how much caffeine you are consuming throughout the day, since high amounts can lead to the jitters and other unpleasant health effects.
Not All Energy Drinks are Full of Sugar
Unless you’re downing an energy drink before a workout, go for the brands that are sugar- and calorie-free. These versions will prevent you from consuming extra sugar and empty calories. It’s a great way to stay health-minded while also indulging in a little boost.