What's the Buzz About Energy Drinks?
There are healthier ways to get an energy boost, experts say.
Fuel for Workouts? continued...
"If you take an energy drink before exercise, it could increase your blood pressure,
overstimulate your heart or nervous system, resulting in a number of potential
side effects on your body," she says. "You might think there would be
no risk to drinking an energy drink, but some of these products have powerful,
drug-like effects and should not be underestimated."
Her advice: "If you have any medical condition, hypertension, or heart
disease, avoid all drinks that have multiple stimulants."
If you want to try an energy drink, she recommends trying a small amount the
first time with a meal to see how your body reacts to it. She advises avoiding
physical exertion during this trial period.
Need a Boost?
When you need a boost -- whether to study for a test, prepare for a workout,
or just get past an afternoon slump -- there are healthier ways than energy
drinks, the experts say. Among the energy-boosters they recommend are a healthy
physical activity, and a good night's sleep.
And when you need a quick fix? "Energy drinks sound like they would be
better than a latte, but a coffee drink made with skim or soy milk is a much
better choice because we know more about the effects of caffeine," says
They recommend no more than 2-3 servings a day of caffeinated beverages,
preferably served along with food. If you find caffeine overly stimulating, try
decaf or half-caffeinated beverages.
Other energizing beverages include sports drinks, fruit juices, water,
low-fat milk, and good, old- fashioned water. "Drink more water,"
suggests Farrell. "Being dehydrated can lead to fatigue."
Also make sure you're getting enough carbohydrates. Fresh and dried fruit,
vegetables, cereal, low-fat yogurt, and whole-grain breads are just a few of
the many nourishing foods that can give you energy.
Eat meals every few hours, don't skip meals, and take a good look at your
eating and sleeping habits, suggests Farrell.
If you're feeling run down, Sass suggests taking a look at the reasons why
you are so tired instead of trying to fix it with energy drinks.