Energy drinks have been around for a long time, in one form or another. Today, however, they are as easily found in every convenience store and many vending machines, much like soda and coffee. With the modern hustle of society, maintaining an energy level high enough to ‘get the job done’ can be difficult, regardless of the job to be done. When the usual methods – sleep, eating right, and exercising – aren’t enough, many people turn to energy drinks.
For the most part, they seem an improvement on the traditional coffee or tea. Energy levels rise and alertness increases, letting drinkers push themselves that much further. However, energy drinks can have side effects, some quite serious given the necessary circumstances. Knowing the pros and cons of energy drinks is a must for anyone considering them.
One of the first – and most obvious – benefits of energy drinks gives them their name. Instant, off-the-shelf energy is the biggest factor in the popularity of these drinks. Early in the morning, or late in the work day, whenever you’re feeling that drag of tiredness, the quick boost of an energy drink sounds like a bargain. However, the biggest pro of energy drinks is also their biggest con: The very ingredients which provide the boost are directly linked to side effects. Caffeine, especially in the large amounts found in energy drinks, brings on symptoms well known to coffee drinkers. Jitters, nervousness, anxiety, and many other problems can surface when energy drinks are over-used.
If energy drinks are kept to a safe level, avoiding the caffeine problem, they can be the equivalent of that morning cup of java. They’re easier and faster to use, since you don’t have to brew coffee, and one energy drink is usually equal to several cups of coffee. Unfortunately, their fast and easy on-the-go benefits might be offset by a much bigger side effect. The average energy drink contains massive amounts of sugar, as well as other ingredients. Even if it gets you up in the morning faster and more efficiently, the trade-off might not be worth it. The extra sugar isn’t healthy, regardless of your life-style, and the more sedentary will need to find a way to exercise more frequently.
As you can see, using energy drinks is a calculated risk. In this respect, they’re much like anything else we do on a daily basis. The difference, however, is in the way we view them and the way they’re presented to us. Looking past the fancy packaging and raving reviews to the real pros and cons is something everyone who cares about their health should do.