An instant boost from sugar and caffeine does more harm than good!
They come in cool colours, and with cooler promises. Youngsters are besotted by an array of energy drinks lining the shelves alongside aerated drinks. But does a dose of energy these cans and bottles offer really help? Read on to know…
Caffeine kicks and sugary threats
Energy drinks have a very high content of caffeine and sugar that work at making you feel fresh and energised. And too much of caffeine can cause jitters, a fast heartbeat, and trouble sleeping, warns Dr Mursalin Shaikh.
Also, though the sugar provides a burst of energy, watch out for a phenomenon called as ‘sugar crash’ — when this energy wears off. This makes one feel very tired all over again. Thus, they are definitely not meant for sporting activities, stresses Deepshikha Agarwal, a sports nutritionist. “And the presence of quinine, that’s used in drinks for giving them the fizz, is anyway bad for the bones,” she says. Further, the high sugar content can lead to weight gain, and also cause cavities, informs Dr Ather Wani, a dentist. “Do not have them too often, and whenever you do, make sure you rinse your mouth,” he says.
Caffeine can be addictive, whether it’s tea, coffee or energy drinks. So in case you don’t happen to find one, you may get headaches, become cranky and or feel tired for a few days. A pediatrician, Dr Bhandarkar says that as these drinks taste sweet, children are also attracted to them. However, parents should definitely discourage younger children from having both, sports as well as energy drinks, “As it can cause electrolyte abnormalities. Hence, while it’s a strict no-no for younger children, in case if teens, involved in sports and physical activities, subscribe to it, it should only be under supervision.”
Source of vitamins and amino acids
Most energy drinks claim the presence of vitamins and even amino acids, popular with those high on body building. “However, it’s much cheaper and safer to get the from multi-vitamin supplements instead,” urges Dr Shaikh. Or better, follow a well-balanced diet and opt for alternatives in form of natural juices. Agarwal recommends grape fruit juice and orange juice as good alternatives to replenish the lost electrolytes after a physical activity.
Energy drinks should not be confused with sports drinks, says Agarwal. The former doesn’t replace water and minerals one loses when we sweat. In fact the caffeine can actually make you more dehydrated. Simply drink water instead.
And never combine energy drinks with alcohol. It can be dangerous because alcohol is a depressant, while the energy drink is a stimulant. Having them together may limit your body’s ability to realise how much alcohol you drank, as it’ll give you the feeling that you are not impaired. Also it can cause bad dehydration. Due to the combined effect of the alcohol and the caffeine in the energy drink, you may urinate more often.