An energy drink is a formulation that contains a hefty dose of sugar and caffeine combined with smaller quantities of apparently vague substances, most notably guarana, ginseng, and taurine.
But do these drinks actually energize your body and sharpen your mind? Can you take the energy drinks permanently? To assist you separate the science from the sales pitch, I tested five important ingredients in the market’s most popular potions.
What is it? Caffeine is a chemical compound that stimulates your central nervous system. Most energy drinks contain between 140 and 170 mg (mg) of caffeine at a 15- or 16-ounce can.
Does it work? Many people certainly think so. In terms of the science, some researches showed that guys who consumed 100 mg of caffeine had a larger increase in brain activity after 20 minutes compared to those who took a placebo.
Is caffeine safe? The most caffeine-packed energy drink contains the equivalent in caffeine of roughly two 8-ounce cups of java. If downing that much joe does not make you jittery, then quaffing a can should not pose a problem. Needless to say, when you combine that with other caffeinated beverages during the day, then the sum total stimulation can cause headaches, sleeplessness, or nausea.
What is it? Sugar. Sucrose, another ingredient you will often see on energy beverage labels, is a mixture of fructose (the natural sugar found in fruit) and sugar. Many energy drinks contain 50 to 60 grams (g) of sugar or sucrose at a 16-ounce can.
Does Glucose work? Your body runs mostly on sugar, so topping off your tank with all the sweet stuff should provide an instant boost.
Is Glucose safe? Dumping empty calories down your gullet is never a wonderful idea, and a few energy drinks contain quite as much sugar as a 20-ounce soda. Then there is the fact that a sudden infusion of sugar can cause your blood glucose and insulin levels to skyrocket, signaling your body to stop incinerating fat.
What is it? Guarna is a South American shrub. One seed contains caffeine content of 4 to 5%, though a java bean has 1 to 2%. The quantity of guarana in a 16-ounce energy beverage ranges from a minuscule 1.4 mg to up to 300 mg.
Does Guarana work? Yes, if you do not set the bar too high.
Is Guarana safe? Some scientists tests and concluded that the quantities of guarana found in many energy drinks are not big enough to cause any adverse effects.
What is it? An extract made from the root of the ginseng plant. Panax ginseng is the species most commonly used. The ginseng material in energy drinks typically ranges between 8 mg and 400 mg in 16 ounces.
Does Ginseng work? Not if you are hoping for energy to burn off. However, ginseng is proven to boost brainpower. Is it safe? Since the amount of ginseng in an energy drink is minimal, harmful effects are unlikely. And while there have been some reports of negative side effects from ginseng – nausea, such as – Scholey points out that those occurred in people taking 3 grams each day.
What is it? Among the most abundant amino acids in mind, where it can serve as a neurotransmitter a chemical messenger which allows your cells to communicate with each other.
Does Taurine work? Scientists are not sure, but it does not seem likely. When taurine is dumped into your blood, for example, it can not pass through the membranes that protect your mind.
Is taurine safe? Probably in tiny doses, but chug a lot of energy drinks and the picture gets less clear.