Energy drinks are supposed to drive away short-term tiredness and lead to an increase in performance. This is mainly due to its main components, sugar and caffeine. The body’s own substance taurine is also said to have an invigorating effect, although this has not yet been proven. However, the high sugar content of 11% promotes tooth decay and obesity, and excessive consumption of the caffeine contained can lead to unpleasant side effects.
Energy drinks – article overview:
- Two and a half tablespoons of sugar per can
- (S) animal powers
- Dangers of consumption
When tiredness and exhaustion set in, but our to-do list is far from finished, reaching for an energy drink like “Red Bull” is tempting. Because the marketing messages promise us to inspire body and mind. This invigorating effect is mainly achieved by the caffeine it contains.
A quarter-liter can provide 80 mg of caffeine, about as much as a cup of coffee. Therefore, energy drinks are generally not recommended for children and people who do not tolerate caffeine well. If you exaggerate energy drinks consumption, the excessive amount of caffeine can result in heart flutter or sleepless nights. Also, dependence cannot be ruled out with regular consumption.
Two and a half tablespoons of sugar per can
Another source of energy, the effect of which is well known, is the sugar contained in energy drinks. However, sugar can only increase performance in the short term. Due to the high energy content, however, high sugar intake leads to overweight or tooth decay in the long term.
Regardless of whether Red Bull, Monster, Power Horse, Burn, Golden Eagle, Booster or Mad Dog, even if the various brands suggest performance-enhancing potential to buyers, the content of most energy drinks is quite similar: A quarter-liter can (250 ml) of an energy drink Drinks provide between 95 and 120 calories on average and contain around 25 to 27 grams of sugar, which corresponds to just under nine sugar cubes. To jump on the trend of low-calorie foods, energy drink manufacturers have also launched beverages with sweeteners instead of sugar. However, this means that the drink lacks an essential source of energy.
(S) animal powers
But what about the ingredient taurine, which has bull-like powers? In 1824 taurine was isolated from ox bile for the first time, from which the name was derived. However, this ingredient is also produced by the human body and is absorbed through fish, meat, and dairy products. It is not yet clear whether taurine is involved in the transmission of information between nerve cells, i.e. is a so-called neurotransmitter. This would make it possible that taurine increases the effect of caffeine and therefore an energy drink is more invigorating than a cup of coffee. However, this thesis has not been proven.
According to the law, only 300 mg of taurine per liter would be permitted. However, the Öko-Test test report shows that most energy drinks contain up to thirteen times the amount. Moderately excessive taurine intake is considered harmless, but how the substance works in large quantities has not yet been researched enough.
Dangers of consumption
The German Society for Nutrition eV declares that energy drinks are certainly not harmful to adults if they are consumed occasionally. However, regular and uncontrolled consumption of these caffeinated beverages harbors some dangers. If drivers drink alcohol in combination with energy drinks, they usually feel as fit to drive as they do when they are sober.
However, appearances are deceptive: a study shows that test subjects who drank mixed drinks did just as badly in visual and coordination tests as people who drank alcohol. After consuming beverages like vodka with Red Bull, car journeys can come to a bad end, despite the contrary self-assessment. Studies also show that regular consumption of energy drinks leads to increased pulse and blood pressure values and that headaches and strong heartbeats can accompany constant consumption.
Energy drinks are definitely unsuitable for athletes because of their high sugar content, which hampers fluid absorption. Occasional consumption in moderation has no direct side effects for adults. The German Nutrition Society and the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment advise against consuming liters of energy drinks.
Nutrition experts point out that energy drinks can be addictive and can throw the heart out of sync with excessive consumption. The recommended consumption limit is a maximum of two 250 milliliter doses per day; one can is considered acceptable for young people. People with cardiovascular problems should keep their hands off such drinks at all.
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