Get Energized with Energy and Sports drinks

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What are energy and sports drinks?

pumped up-get energized.

Energy drinks are beverages like Red Bull, Rock Star and Monster, which contain large doses of caffeine and other legal stimulants like guarana and ginseng. The amount of caffine in an energy drink can range from 75 milligrams to over 200 milligrams per serving. This compares to 34 milligrams in Coke and 55 milligrams in Mountain Dew. For more information on caffeine content of energy drinks and other products, click here.

If a drink advertises no caffeine, the energy comes from guarana, which is the equivalent of caffeine. 5-hour energy drink advertises “no crash,” but this claim is referring to no “sugar crash” because the drink has artificial sweetners.

Any vitamins or amino acids like taurine are better found by eating a variety of foods and taking  vitamin and mineral supplements.

Energy Drink Ingredients

According to the Innova Market Insights’ Database these five energy drink ingredients are the most common. The chart below shows the percentage of new energy products in which each ingredient is found.

popular-energy drinks -ingredients

Caffeine

energy drink ingredients

The most common stimulant, found also in coffee, Coke, and Mountain Dew but usually is found in much higher quantities in energy drinks. Most energy drinks contain between 70 and 200mg.

  • An 8oz cup of coffee contains 110-150mg for drip
  • 65-125mg for percolated coffee.
  • 40-80 mg for instant coffee.
  • Dr. Pepper gives you 41mg.
  • A can of Coke provides 34mg.
  • A full can of RockStar has 160mg.

Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system giving the body a sense of alertness. It can raise heart rate and blood pressure while dehydrating the body. A lot of people experience side effects above 200mg, which include sleeplessness, heart palpitations, headaches, nausea, and most commonly the jitters.

Taurine

Taurine is an amino acid that your body naturally produces. It helps regulate heartbeat, muscle contractions, and energy levels. Usually your body makes enough that you don’t need to supplement. It’s thought, but not proven, that under “stress conditions” like illness, physical exertion, or injury, the body does not create enough and supplements can help. Taurine might be a “mild inhibitory neurotransmitter”, some studies show it helps with excitable brain states.

Guarana

Guarana comes from plants native to South America. Amazonians have used it for a long time to increase alertness and energy. It’s more dense in caffeine than coffee beans (3-4% vs 1-2%). It’s not just called “caffeine” because it contains a couple other things: theobromine and theophylline. They’re found in coffees and teas and are known stimulants.

B Vitamins

These are essentially the things that help you convert food to energy, like sugar which is found in abundance in energy drinks. The jury’s still out on whether or not they increase energy levels via supplementation. Search the interweb for info on proper dosing of the different vitamins. Common names for B vitamins are niacin, riboflavin, cyanocobalamin, and pyridoxine hydrochloride. Vitamins B6 and B12 don’t absorb well when taken orally, so the amounts placed in most energy drinks will likely have little to no effect.

Ginseng

ginseng

Ginseng, an adaptogenic herb, is known to increase energy, has some anti-fatigue components, supposedly relieves stress, and increase memory. Right now it’s suspected that ginseng helps stimulate the hypothalamic and pituitary glands, which then secrete something called adrenal corticotropic hormone. With a name like that, it can’t possibly be bad. Ginseng is nothing that’s naturally created by your body, so having this in your drink certainly won’t hurt.

Antioxidants

Anti-oxidants are things that help your body gracefully recover from the damage of free radicals. Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant, so claiming that your energy drink has a lot of anti-oxidants is like saying you’re buying really expensive orange juice.

Creatine

Creatine is naturally obtained by eating meat. Creatine supplements helps with supplying energy to the muscles and is usually found in energy drinks and products that are marketed to body builders.

Acai Berry

This ingredient (pronounced ah-sah-ee) is finding its way into more and more energy drinks. Acai berry comes from the Acai Palm tree which is found in South America. The berries are rich in anti-oxidants, but not as much as a concord grape or a blueberry.

So with fitness in the air, now is the perfect time to dig up the facts on the best and worst drinks for your workout. There are tons of sports beverages on the market promising to help you lose weight, run faster, and jump higher, but many of these claims are nothing but bogus marketing ploys. And not only are some of those bottles and cans filled with empty promises, but they’re also brimming with empty calories that could undermine your hard-earned workout gains. Read on for five exercise-enhancing beverages that can help quench your thirst, boost your performance, and support you on your journey to swimsuit six-pack-dom.

Sports Drinks

Sports drinks don’t hydrate better than water, but you are more likely to drink larger volumes, which leads to better hydration. The typical sweet-tart taste combination doesn’t quench thirst, so you will keep drinking a sports drink long after water has lost its appeal. An attractive array of colors and flavors are available. You can get a carbohydrate boost from sports drinks, in addition to electrolytes which may be lost from perspiration, but these drinks tend to offer lower calories than juice or soft drinks.Sports drinks contain carbohydrates and electrolytes to replace lost body salt and to replenish muscle energy stores. For endurance activities such as walking, running, or cycling, the body burns through its available muscle energy stores in the first 45 minutes.

A sports drink does several things – it replaces the water, sodium and potassium lost in sweat and it provides carbohydrates for ready energy so the muscles can continue to perform. Protein-Carbohydrate Drink Reduces Muscle Damage The subjects were also tested for plasma CPK levels, which indicate the amount of muscle damage. Those who drank the Accelerade protein-carbohydrate drink had 83% lower CPK levels, showing less muscle damage. Muscle damage contributes to post-exercise muscle soreness, a major complaint of fitness enthusiasts.

Sources:  @brown.edu  |  @wikipedia  |  science.howstuffworks