Sunday, August 24, 2008

Energy/Sports Drinks

Are energy drinks and/or sports drinks good for the environment we call our bodies?

Whether you are looking for “wiings” or just a bit of a “buzz” to keep you going awhile longer, energy drinks have become the new drink of choice for many. They are being touted as the new “sports drink”. However, there is a difference between sports drinks and energy drinks. Sports drinks, such as Gatorade and PowerAde, are formulated to recharge the body by replacing the materials used up by the muscles when exercising. While they are popular with the average consumer; they are really geared toward athletes (not weekend warriors) who want to replenish their bodies after serious activity. Sports drinks usually contain sugar, water and electrolytes (which can include sodium, potassium, phosphate, calcium and magnesium).

Energy drinks, such as Rockstar, Full Throttle, Red Bull, Erectus and Cocaine, contain legal stimulants such as caffeine, carbohydrates, herbs (such as guarana, ginseng and gingko biloba) and sometimes sugar. Wrap all this up in slick advertising aimed at young people, students and sports players; and, it spells success. What they fail to mention is there could be problems with misuse of these products.

While sports drink can help athletes rehydrate themselves after a strenuous workout – those who rely too heavily on the drinks may overdose and make themselves sick by upsetting their electrolyte balances.

The risks with energy drinks are even greater. The combination of excess caffeine and herbs (the effects of which are still relatively unknown) can be harmful. Caffeine is capable of leaching calcium from bones. So…the risks taken are in direct proportion to the number of energy drinks consumed.

What are the alternatives? For those of us who are not finely-tuned athletes everything we need to stay hydrated, energized and focused can be found in our diets. Water keeps us hydrated while whole fruit and/or fruit smoothies replace the carbohydrates and protein we used and help maintain our stamina.

Unfortunately, energy drinks have found their own little niche in the market and that may spell disaster. Energy drinks are now being mixed with alcohol so the drinker can stay alert longer and drink more. These drinks claim to stimulate the mind and body plus provide a boost of energy. This sounds wonderful to the consumer; but, fails to give a clear picture of what happens.

There are two main problems when you mix these two types of beverages. The first problem being that the energy drink is a stimulant while the alcohol is a depressant. This gives your nervous system mixed messages and puts an added burden on your heart.

Think of it this way. What happens if you take a car and rev it in gear as fast as you can while holding the brake down with your other foot and having the emergency brake engaged? The stress eventually (and quite rapidly) causes the engine (heart) to blow.

The second problem is dehydration caused by the alcohol consumed made greater by the caffeine in the energy drink. Serious health problems can result from dehydration.

Now think of our car that has one foot on its gas and one foot on its brake. Imagine now that we are draining the oil out of the engine. Need I say more.

Fatigue is one of our bodies’ ways of saying that to maintain optimum health; we must stop what we are doing and rest. The energy drink masks this feeling and allows us to go on longer. Now there is a completely different problem to deal with.

New research from Wake Forest University School of Medicine shows that researchers found students who drank the energy cocktails were twice as likely to be hurt or injured; twice as likely to require medical attention; and, twice as likely to ride with an intoxicated driver. On a more frightening note, the study also found that students who drank these alcohol/energy drink cocktails were more likely to take advantage of someone else sexually, and also most twice as likely to be taken advantage of.

Amazingly, while the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) limits caffeine to 65 milligrams per serving of either a food or a beverage; energy drinks can contain as much as 300 milligrams of caffeine in a single serving. This is because it’s not covered under the FDA, the researchers noted. This was reported at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in Washington, DC.


Kathi said...

Then there are real energy drinks, like ours (Univera) that restore vital energy through the creb cycle with no drugs or stimulants. This is the way to go if you want energy - may people are learning since it is the next Trillion Dollar Industry. These products undergo double blind, placebo controlled, human clinical trials and are manufactured at pharmaceutical grade with quality control each step of the way from each ingredient to the final product. We even grow many of the components in our 120,000 acres, around the globe. On top of not doing damage and providing energy, the flagship product, Ageless Xtra, repairs, rebuilds and restores the body at the DNA level. There are much better choices.

Figured out that I couldn't see the verification code from cookies not being enabled. Fixed now.

Also figured out that if you see the game at the start, when the ad is on, and silence the ad, no noice will come on unless/until you want it to.

Kathi said...

The video on the right that has the coal cars (train) is a great comparison on the US candidates for President's positions on energy and global warming.