Skip to content

    Men's Health

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Energy for Sale

    Energy products abound: in drinks, herbs, bars, and even goo. But do they do anything?
    By
    WebMD Feature

    If the names of today's energy products have any truth to them, vitality and endurance are readily available in bars, drinks, gels, ices, herbs, and supplements.

    PowerBar. Red Bull. Amp. Gatorade. Accelerade. Super Energizer. Energice.

    Recommended Related to Men

    George Lopez Finds a Perfect Match

    "I'll give you one of mine," Ann Lopez said to her husband the moment the couple learned he would need a kidney transplant. He thought she was joking. But George Lopez, star of ABC's The George Lopez Show, is the comic, not his wife. And so, just before sunrise on a Tuesday in April of 2005, the Lopezes arrived at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where they were prepped for surgery in neighboring rooms. Right before Ann was wheeled to the operating room --- her surgery began first...

    Read the George Lopez Finds a Perfect Match article > >

    Well they sure sound energizing. But are they actually any better than a candy bar or a bottle of soda? It depends on the product and its consumer, say experts, who note that the sheer variety make blanket statements difficult.

    To get the full story, WebMD investigated the different kinds of energy edibles, their ingredients, and general effects on the body. Some products provide full nutritional information, while others closely guard the secrets of their proprietary blends. But many of these products just haven’t been studied very well.

    We also asked the experts whether these products really add anything to our lives. Are we all limping through life, suffering from an energy crisis -- a crisis that unwrapping a power bar can resolve? Or does our obsession with edible energy have very little to do with good nutrition?

    Energy Bars and Gels

    All energy bars, goos, and ices are not created equal. Some pack in the carbohydrates, proteins, or fats. Others bring in vitamins and minerals. The flavors are plentiful, too, with cookies and cream, cappuccino, lemon poppy seed, and chocolate raspberry fudge appealing to the taste buds.

    John Allred, PhD, food science communicator for the Institute of Food Technologists, shakes his head at the mention of energy products. "They are outrageously expensive for what you are getting," he says. "There's nothing magical about the ingredients."

    The same nutrients could be found in a banana, yogurt, or a chocolate bar, which are cheaper options, Allred explains.

    To be fair, the carbohydrate or protein composition of some energy bars and gels may provide a more sustained charge than products that primarily use sugar or caffeine. The power surge of sugar usually lasts about 30 minutes to one hour, and caffeine about two hours. The rush from sugar and coffee is usually followed by an energy low.

    Energy bars and gels with carbohydrates will definitely provide a boost, as carbs are the body's preferred fuel source. It's ideal if much of the carbohydrate source is fiber, as the roughage takes longer to digest, providing more sustained energy. This can be especially helpful for people involved in endurance events. Protein-rich products can also provide staying power and strength. The nutrient helps build muscle and regulates energy production in the body.

    1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

    Today on WebMD

    man coughing
    Men shouldn’t ignore.
    man swinging in hammock
    And how to get out it.
     
    shaving tools
    On your shaving skills.
    muscular man flexing
    Four facts that matter.
     
    Food Men 10 Foods Boost Male Health
    Slideshow
    Thoughtful man sitting on bed
    Quiz
     
    Man taking blood pressure
    Slideshow
    doctor holding syringe
    Slideshow
     
    Condom Quiz
    Quiz
    thumbnail_angry_couple_in_bed
    Slideshow
     
    man running
    Quiz
    older couple in bed
    Video