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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Can energy drinks really boost my energy?

The term energy drink encompasses two types of drinks : glucose-based energy drinks and caffeine-based stimulant energy drinks. Energy drinks are designed to increase mental and physical energy but are not primarily designed for use during sports or exercise.

The caffeine in stimulant energy drinks is used to increase alertness. It is rapidly metabolised by the body within a few hours.

It is also important to distinguish between sports and energy drinks as the two are often confused. Sports drinks, whether they are glucose or caffeine-based, are designed to meet particular sporting requirements.

The side effects depend on the drink's ingredients. Many drinks are made with a high percentage of carbohydrates. This often makes it harder for food and nutrients to be absorbed into the bloodstream, so your energy boost might not be as high or as effective.

Energy drinks also tend to be packed with a lot of fructose and sugar, which can often have laxative effects. However, the sugar is used up in a short period, and the drinker is often left feeling more fatigued than they were to begin with.

Caffeine is known to have both laxative and diuretic effects on the body, which means you often lose the stimulant through excess urination and are left dehydrated. Caffeine also increases your heart rate and body temperature. Too much of this stimulant can cause an irregular heartbeat, excess sweating, jitters and anxiousness, which is hardly ideal if you want to concentrate for an exam or get in the mindset for a competitive event.

Basically, if your energy drink is causing any of these side effects, you should be aware of them.