These are the ones that mostly come in a can or colourful bottles. Red Bull, Monster, UUrzaa, Tzinga, XXX are some of the most famous brands involved. These are fast acting drinks with a high dose of caffeine and a varying blend of energizing extras that include vitamins and amino acids and herbal supplements. Some of the commonly found ingredients are:
- B Complex Vitamins
- Gingko Balboa
- Artificial Sweeteners
Though the ingredient profile might seem quite impressive at first, it’s actually not.
Firstly, the quantity of the ingredients in your so called “Energy Drinks” is nowhere close to what RDA recommends for an active individual.
Secondly, I didn’t yet mention the 2 most actively fortified ingredients these energy drinks possess. Yes, you might have already guessed it till now. They are Caffeine and Sugar. I will eventually explain as to why buying an energy drink is a “bad hand of poker to play” but before that let’s look as to what is wrong with these two ingredients.
Caffeine & Sugar: The Pros and The Cons
Caffeine has remained the most widely used drug on this planet when it comes to boosting energy or going through the late night work shifts. You have also been familiar with caffeine through your various coffee shops as that’s the number 1 reason why the coffee shop industry has been booming since last 20 odd years. But lets not digress here.
On an average, a single can of your favourite energy drink contains anywhere from 70 to 200 mgs of caffeine which is more than enough to give you that kick you are looking for. Now let’s look at some of the caffeine benefits and its cons:
Pros of Caffeine
- It’s Cheap
- It’s and effective stimulant for nervous system.
- Can provide you a short-lived boost for your workout.
Cons of Caffeine
- Becomes addictive if consumed every single day
- Gives you an energy crash once it’s effect is over.
- Can lead to Insomnia problems.
- Can lead to Increased blood pressure
The “Sugary” Matter
Now that we are aware of the caffeine effects let’s cut the chase and get to the notorious buddy of caffeine: Sugar.
No guesses here. There are literally no pros when it comes to adding sugar in your energy drinks. Some of these energy drinks can have up to about 13 spoons of sugar in each drink. Then why is it there? The plain answer is the Taste. Let’s be honest, without sugar these caffeine dominated energy drinks would taste like a cold shot of espresso. And nobody can handle that. So what’s the solution? Load them with heaps of sugar so that they taste good. Who can resist a cola tasting drink that also gives energy. Caffeine as it is addictive, on the top there’s another addiction added- the good old sugar. And there’s a perfect magic potion ready to be marketed by the elite athletes which maybe only God can resist.
Pre-Workouts better than Energy Drinks?
- Firstly, let’s assume you want some extra kick for your workout. There’s nothing wrong in going for caffeine as long as you don’t become addicted to it, but doesn’t it make sense to buy a decent pre-workout supplement with other important stimulants like beta alanine and arginine that go well with caffeine.
- Also you won’t be getting those huge doses of sugar that can cause an individual to go on a sugar high and can lead to Insulin resistance problems in future. Also you can almost the same taste as of those energy drinks in these pre-workout blends without any added sugar.
- Finally a normal can of these energy drinks will cost anywhere starting from Rs 60 (1$) and can go up to Rs 150 (2.5$) in case you opt for sugar free versions which is much more expensive than a scoop of a pre-workout which costs about Rs 45 to Rs 60 from any decent brand.