What's the Buzz About Energy Drinks?
There are healthier ways to get an energy boost, experts say.
Easy to Drink
One of the concerns about energy drinks is how easy it is to drink large
quantities of these sweet beverages.
"Energy drinks contain multiple stimulants that, when combined, can be
dangerous and have a very powerful effect on the body," says Sass. Most
people know how much caffeine they can tolerate, but may not be familiar with
the effects of some of the other ingredients.
She describes such possible symptoms as upset stomach, leg weakness, heart
palpitations, being jittery, nervousness, and more. Drink these energy drinks
on an empty stomach and the effects can be magnified.
"There will be an energy burst, but it could also lead to agitation,
difficulty concentrating, hyperactivity, a problem sleeping, nausea, and affect
pressure," Farrell says
Energy Drinks and Alcohol
Because alcohol is a depressant and caffeine is a stimulant, mixing energy
drinks with alcohol is a bad idea, experts say.
"Both are also diuretics that can lead to dehydration and ultimately, drinking more alcohol,
because the burst of energy from the sugar and caffeine misrepresent the state
of inebriation," says Farrell.
She compares it to the misconception that coffee can sober someone who has
had too much to drink: "Using coffee to sober up just makes you feel more
energetic; it does not decrease the effects of inebriation."
The result is that you may feel less intoxicated than you really are.
"These products may be natural, but they can be very dangerous when mixed
with alcohol," says Sass.
Club soda, water, and fruit juices are better mixers with alcohol. Sass
recommends choosing a mixer you have had before, so the result is more
If you want to dance all night long, a glass of water is a better choice
than an energy drink between cocktails, to keep you well-hydrated.
And whatever you do, don't drink alcohol on an empty stomach. "Have a
snack before you go out so the absorption of alcohol is slower and safer,"
Fuel for Workouts?
Don't be misled into thinking energy drinks will power up your workouts,