Sugar and Energy Drinks

imagesSports beverages, or so called energy drinks, are not as healthy as they are thought to be. As a matter of fact, the term “energy drink,” which is often used under the moniker of a “sports drink” is very misleading.

Energy drinks contain stimulants such as caffeine and are not much different than a cup of strong, black coffee. The difference between energy drinks and a plain ‘ol cup of black coffee is that that the energy drinks contain a lot of sugar. It’s like ordering a Venti mocha at Starbucks. You end up getting copious doses of sugar and caffeine from these so-called sport drinks, which make you feel hyper and stimulated. So if your question is “how can these sport drinks be bad for me?” the answer is because of the high amount of caffeine and sugar that they contain.

Sugar is a quick source of energy as the body easily absorbs it. Sugar gets into our bloodstream quicker than any other food that we consume. You feel the jolt of energy within minutes of consuming sugar; this is called “sugar high”. This is why sugar is such an important ingredient in sport drinks. The sugar content in the sport drinks is so high that you would not need to consume any more sugar during the day if you have consumed one of these drinks. 

As you may know, consuming high amounts of sugar can lead to a host of metabolic diseases like diabetes. Sugar causes inflammation in your body. The obesity epidemic in this country can be tied directly to the higher amount of sugar that we are ingesting every year.

When you ingest sugar, the body releases insulin to control the sugar levels in your system. So you initially get that burst of energy, but then the body quickly crashes because your blood sugar levels quickly drop since the insulin is storing the sugar as glycogen.

A single can of a sport drink a day may not cause much visible harm to you, but the problem is that many young people end up consuming multiple cans during the day in a bid to increase the effects of  the stimulants in the drinks. I knew a guy in the past who used to drink four Red Bulls in one sitting! The caffeine and sugar in the sport drinks are not healthy by any means, and when taken in high doses, they can severely disturb the body’s chemical balance. This can lead to a host of problems like anxiety, insomnia, depression and dehydration.

DSCF0092Another danger lies in the fact that you might get addicted to these drinks since caffeine is classified as a drug, and you may start consuming more of these drinks during the day. Several such incidents have occurred when people consumed as much as four cans of these drinks in a sitting. That didn’t happen to that guy I told you about, but I believe he built up a high tolerance.

So when it comes to increasing your energy levels, eat a variety of foods that will help boost your alertness level. So-called energy drinks are nothing but a sugar and caffeine bomb in a pretty can.

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