Welcome to Episode 047 where we discuss everything energy drinks!
Here’s what is on this week’s Podcast…
Topic Intro – 2:30
The Energy Drink business is booming. Over 40 billion dollars right now with more than 500 energy drinks on the market.
The most well known are – 2:50
5 Hour Energy
The target market for most energy drinks are – 3:01
Specifically males between 18-34
Energy Drinks promote – 3:42
Enhance physical and mental performance
It’s that “quick shot or jolt of energy” people are looking for and too often depending upon.
What is in most Energy Drinks? – 4:09
Their ingredients, at least the ones we know about are:
Let’s take a look at the most common energy drink ingredients and list the potential side effects that could result from ingesting too much.
This is the most common energy drink ingredient and one of the most widely consumed substances in the world.
Caffeine is the major ingredient in most energy drinks—a 24-oz energy drink may contain as much as 500 mg of caffeine (similar to that in four or five cups of coffee).
Caffeine tolerance varies between individuals, but for most people a dose of over 400mg/day may produce some initial symptoms: restlessness, increased heartbeat, and insomnia.
Higher dosages can lead to:
* Increased blood pressure
* Heart palpitations
* Anxiety and panic attacks
* Gastrointestinal disturbance (diarrhea)
* Increased urination
* Dizziness, irritability, nausea, nervousness, jitters
* Allergic reactions can include; rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the (mouth, face, lips, or tongue), diarrhea, shakiness, trouble sleeping, vomiting
* Headaches and severe fatigue from withdrawal
* Painful withdrawal symptoms
Caffeine can be found in other natural ingredients such as guarana, green tea extract, and coffee extract or can go by many other names, so be aware of this when reading energy drink labels.
For example, Guarana, commonly added to energy drinks, contains caffeine. Therefore, the addition of guarana increases the drink’s total caffeine content.
Sugar – 6:57
Most energy drinks are high in sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup and/or cane sugar. Some use creative names to make their version of sugar seem “healthier”, like “natural cane juice”.
* High sugar drinks are linked to the obesity.
* Sugar causes tooth decay
* Increases risk of type 2 diabetes.
* The sugar in energy drinks causes blood sugar and insulin spikes, which later result in a “crash-like” feeling.
* Sugar is also somewhat addictive.
Taurine – 8:06
an amino acid that’s naturally found in meat and fish
No side effects from the Taurine3 in energy drinks have been documented. Some countries (France, Denmark, and Norway) originally banned energy drinks because of their taurine content, but have since accepted that taurine consumption is safe based on the evidence to date.
The amount placed in energy drinks is well below what would be needed for therapeutic benefits or for any potential side-effects.
B Vitamins – 8:33
* More than 35mg of Niacin (B3) can cause flushing of the skin. Intake of 3000mg or more can result in liver toxicity. The British Journal of Medicine recently published a case study of a man who consumed about 5 energy drinks a day for a period of three weeks. This caused toxic levels of niacin to build up in his body, leading to nonviral hepatitis. The unidentified energy drink in question supplied 200% of the RDA of B3. A summary is found here.
* More than 100mg of B6 can cause sensory nerve problems (burning sensation) or skin lesions.
Inositol – 9:51
No major side effects have been reported, but it could cause dizziness, tiredness, headaches and an upset stomach. (src.) Ingesting large quantities has been linked to diarrhea. Large doses have been used to treat certain psychiatric disorders.
Ginseng – 9:57
* Some studies have linked it to sleeplessness, while others refute this.
* Other possible symptoms include; low blood pressure, edema, palpitations, tachycardia, cerebral arteritis, vertigo, headache, insomnia, mania, vaginal bleeding, amenorrhea, fever, appetite suppression, pruritus, cholestatic hepatitis, mastalgia, euphoria, and miscarriage.
Glucuronolactone – 10:10
While no side effects have been reported, there’s still debate on its safety. Many countries including Canada, England, Germany, and France have concluded that it is not a safety concern.
Artificial Sweeteners – 10:43
If you drink sugar-free energy drinks you may be consuming any number of artificial sweeteners. There is always debate around the negative health effects of these (particularly aspartame).
However, all major health institutions regard them as safe.
Ginkgo Biloba – 11:06
Gingko is a herb, and can cause some minor side effects in some people6:
* nausea, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness, heart palpitations, and restlessness.
* Can interact with other medication such as blood thinners and anti-depressants.
* A recent study found that ginkgo caused thyroid cancer in rats.
L-Carnitine – 11:24
L-carnitine, a substance in our bodies that helps turn fat into energy.
Too much of this amino acid can cause vomiting, nausea, headache, diarrhea, stuffy nose, restlessness and sleeping difficulty.
This amino acid is derived from green tea and many energy drinks and shots have begun putting “green tea extract” in their products.
It produces a different type of alertness than caffeine and there hasn’t been any scientific evidence of it causing adverse side effects. Some have reported feeling light-headed when consuming a dose of more than 300mg of L-Theanine.
What exactly are those ingredients, and how do they impact your body? – 11:48
Over the years, concerned experts have been getting closer to answering those questions, said Dr. John Higgins, a sports cardiologist with McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.
Overall, the concern is that these vitamins, amino acids and herbals are often in higher concentrations than naturally in food or plants, and the effects when combined especially with caffeine may be enhanced,” said Katherine Zeratsky, a clinical dietitian at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Higgins, who has led multiple studies on energy drinks and health impacts, agreed.
With the caffeine, sugar and stimulants, Higgins said that more research is needed to determine how those ingredients could interact to cause negative health effects.
“They’re sort of a black box. We really don’t know a lot about them,” Higgins said of energy drinks.
He also goes on to say, after chugging an energy drink, you might notice your heart rate increase.
Your rapidly beating heart could pose a health risk, as “energy drinks not only have been shown to raise stress levels, increase heart rate, increase blood pressure, they’ve also been shown to make the blood a little bit thicker,”
“In one case, a young 28-year-old who drunk eight cans of an energy drink actually went into cardiac arrest, and they found his arteries of his heart were completely locked up. When they were able to open them up, all the testing revealed nothing wrong with this person other than he had high levels of caffeine and taurine,” he said.
Depending on how many energy drinks you consume, doses of caffeine equal to or above 200 milligrams can be linked to caffeine intoxication, according to a paper published in the International Journal of Health Sciences in 2015.
Symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, gastrointestinal irritation, muscle twitching, restlessness and periods of inexhaustibility.
Can you OD on caffeine? – 14:02
“To give you an idea of products containing caffeine, Java Monster contains 100 milligrams per serving; 5 Hour Energy contains 200 milligrams per serving, and keep in mind that does not include amounts of other stimulants found in energy drinks that can enhance the effects of caffeine,” said Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr, nutrition specialist and vice chairwoman in the department of nutrition at the University of California, Davis.
The US military has even warned against troops consuming too many energy drinks since doing so has been associated with sleep disruption, leading to periods of fatigue during briefings or on guard duty.
Service members who drank three or more energy drinks per day were more likely to report about four hours of sleep or less, on average, per night than those who drank two or fewer a day, according to a recent study
The Consortium for Health and Military Performance recommends that service members, from sailors to Marines, limit their caffeine intake to no more than 200 milligrams every four hours and no more than 800 milligrams throughout the day, according to the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center.
Energy drinks are popular among young athletes, especially for an extra energy boost. Yet the National Federation of State High School Associations recommends that they not be used for hydration prior to, during or after physical activity.
And ironically, a common ingredient in energy drinks, guarana, is mentioned in the NCAA’s 2016-17 banned drugs list, which is provided online.
The dangers of energy drinks are getting a lot of press because of the sheer volume of energy stimulating products in the marketplace and the ease of access to these by minors.
While most energy drinks don’t have as much caffeine as a Starbucks’ coffee, they are heavily sweetened and easy to drink, which appeals more to the younger demographic.
Research is seeing increased incidents of those 18 and younger having dangerous side effects from consuming too many energy drinks at one time.
It all started with three or four cans of Mountain Dew a day. That was in high school. Then, in college, it was 5-Hour Energy. Two shots a day, to be exact. Later, it was a 20-ounce can of Monster each morning. At one point, Aaron Templin, now 36, had to stop – at least temporarily.
“I don’t even know how to describe it. It was too much energy – way too much energy,” says the customer service worker in Gaithersburg, Maryland, who now mostly drinks coffee and water. “It was like an out-of-body experience. It was pretty crazy.”
Labeling Confusion – 16:27
One of the major critiques of energy drinks is that not all are well-regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. That means energy drink companies can market their products as dietary supplements and forgo a nutrition facts label, leaving consumers to wonder whether what they see is what they get, says Ruth Litchfield, an associate professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University.
“When a product has a supplements facts label, it has not gone through the FDA approval process to be on the market as a food item,” she says. “Whereas a nutrition facts panel goes through the FDA process of proving safety and efficacy before it goes on the market as a food product.”
Even FDA-approved energy drinks aren’t required to disclose how much caffeine and other stimulants they contain, she adds. “That’s the biggest problem I see: It’s not required on the label, and in most cases, they are not disclosing the total stimulant dose in the product for people to make an educated decision.”
The caffeine content of energy drinks, meanwhile, can range from 80 milligrams in an 8-ounce Red Bull to over 350 milligrams in 16 ounces of the no-calorie energy drink Bang, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
While experts believe it’s safe for most healthy adults to consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day – about the equivalent of one venti 20-ounce Starbucks coffee or two shots of 5-Hour Energy, CSPI reports – downing multiple energy drinks daily could quickly put someone over that limit, increasing their risk for headaches as well as boost blood pressure and heart rate.
That can of energy drink you’re chugging may tout the added benefits of herbs and nutrients, but most energy drinks only contain empty calories from sugar, which leads to weight gain. In fact, the average energy drink contains approximately 10 to 12 teaspoons of sugar per can. On top of that fact, they do very little to hydrate your body.
And taking in all of that excess caffeine will leave you wishing for sleep when you actually hit the hay. You’ll likely end up tossing and turning the night away, and waking up tired and sleep deprived.
Energy Boost Tip – 18:15
Treva Promo – 19:06
5MEK Promo – 20:04
Three Important Neglected Details About Energy Drinks – 20:59
1. Energy Drinks Are Strong Acids
Energy drinks can have pH values as low as 1.5, which is stronger than sulfuric acid and nearly as strong as battery acid. In one laboratory study, the acidity of Red Bull caused deeper tooth erosion than Coke, 100% apple juice, Diet Coke, and Gatorade, and an additional study found that energy drinks erode teeth twice as much as sports drinks.
Acid intake is also potentially harmful to bone, muscle, and brain health. More than 25 studies have established that the body moves calcium away from cells and into the bloodstream to compensate for excess acidity. Although it is difficult to associate this with a specific disease such as osteoporosis, the cells that rely the most on calcium exist in the skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems.
2. Energy Drinks Do Not Improve Athletic Performance – 22:24
Energy drinks are often marketed and sold in stores under the same category as sports drinks, but studies indicate that they do not enhance or promote athletic ability.
Two studies on Red Bull demonstrate that it does not extend the time it takes for runners to become exhausted and that it does not improve strength, weight volume, or 1-rep max in weight lifters.
Furthermore, energy drinks contain far more carbohydrates than are recommended for active people, which can cause gastrointestinal distress by restricting the movement of fluid into the bloodstream.
Huffington Post research… – 23:10
If you’re looking for an extra push during your workout, you might want to be careful about what you’re chugging to get it. Drinking caffeinated energy drinks before working out can make your sleep suffer later on, new research from Spain suggests.
In the study, trained athletes who had avoided caffeine for 48 hours consumed an energy drink containing about 1.3 mg of caffeine per pound of bodyweight 60 minutes before completing a workout. That’s the equivalent of a 180-pound guy consuming 234 mg of caffeine, or about one and a half 16-ounce cans of Monster Energy. (While that amount of caffeine may seem high, previous research found no performance effects at a lower dose.) They repeated this one week later, except without the caffeine.
After drinking the caffeinated energy drink, their self-reported ratings of muscle power were 13 percent higher than they were without the jolt—but they were much more likely to have trouble sleeping afterwards. Nearly one in three caffeine-pounders reported insomnia later that night, a rate three times higher than when their beverages were caffeine-free.
They were also more likely to feel nervous, too.
When you take caffeine before exercising, it blocks your receptors for adenosine, a neurotransmitter which sends fatigue signals to your body, says study author Juan Del Coso, Ph.D. It also increases the secretion of the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline, which spark alertness and contribute to feelings of nervousness.
3 Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks – 21:31
Experts strongly warn against mixing energy drinks and alcohol because it inhibits people, especially young adults, tell their level of intoxication.
Eight Side Effects of Energy Drinks – 25:19
1. Anxiety Inducing
You already know that caffeine is a stimulant that can be dangerous if over-consumed. That’s why after downing an energy drink, you may notice you can’t sit still, a quickening of your pulse, the jitters, your mind and thoughts may start racing, and you may become irritable or extremely chatty. That’s because the typical energy drink can contain up to 300 milligrams of caffeine compared to a brewed cup of coffee (at approximately 100 milligrams of caffeine). Delivering nearly 3 times the caffeine compared to coffee, energy drinks bring new meaning to the term “anxiety inducing!”
2. Those Empty Calories Add Up
That can of energy drink you’re swilling may tout the added benefits of herbs and nutrients, but most energy drinks only contain empty calories from sugar, which leads to weight gain. In fact, the average energy drink contains approximately 10 to 12 teaspoons of sugar per can. On top of that fact, they do very little to hydrate your body.
3. Sleep Deprivation
You might think that pounding a few energy drinks will let you burn the candle at both ends so you can finish that work presentation or essay. However, taking in all of that excess caffeine will leave you wishing for sleep when you actually hit the hay. You’ll likely end up tossing and turning the night away, and waking up tired and sleep deprived.
Excessive energy drink consumption may disrupt teens’ sleep patterns and may fuel risk-taking behavior.
If you’re prone to headaches or worse, migraines, drinking energy drinks won’t do you any favors. In fact; the outcome will likely be a throbbing headache due to excess caffeine. Energy drinks may seem thirst-quenching, but they actually leave they body dehydrated—encumbering blood flow and fresh oxygen to the brain—which is necessary for energy.
5. Excess Perspiration
When you drink too much caffeine do you sweat more? I tend to perspire excessively after downing an energy drink even when I’m sitting still in a cool room. No, it’s not a hot flash. The reason that the temperature rises in the wake of energy drink consumption is due to stimulant ingredients (namely caffeine), which cause increased blood pressure, heart rate, and metabolism, and which naturally lead to higher body temperature and perspiration.
6. Digestive Upset
On top of caffeine, which already causes its share of digestive turmoil, the sugar and other stimulants (i.e., ginseng) packed in a can of energy drink all contribute to an increase in the production of stomach acid. So downing a can to stay upbeat will often just result in an upset stomach.
7. Heart Palpitations
In recent years, energy drinks have come under fire for potentially serious effects on the heart—specifically when it comes to arrhythmia, increased blood pressure, and even cardiac arrest. If you have a history of heart problems, you could be risking a heart attack if you consume energy drinks. The American Heart Association considers the safe consumption of caffeine for adults with healthy hearts is about 400 milligrams per day. However, if you consider that one energy drink can contain up to 300 milligrams of caffeine per can, guzzling multiple cans can be risky.
8. Impaired Cognition
Eager students often rely on energy drinks to pull all-nighter study sessions. However, reliance on energy drinks to stay awake and improve performance might be unrealistic. In fact, studies link excessive consumption of caffeine to weakened cognition—including reduced focus, problem-solving skills, memory, and reaction times.
ASK THREE QUICK QUESTIONS – 26:57
Q1 WHY IS MY ENERGY LOW RIGHT NOW? – 27:12
Often it may be as simple is it’s 2pm and you’ve not stopped for lunch. Or what you ate for lunch is sitting in your gut like a 20 lb. dumbbell because it was a poor choice. Or you realized the only movement you’ve had in numerous hours were your fingers on the keyboard and multiple yawn reps. C’mon man.
But sometimes it’s bigger like running on little or low-quality sleep. This cannot be solved in the moment but can be in a few hours by getting to bed on time or even earlier to bank energy for tomorrow afternoon. Finding the why of your energy drop is key to solving the problem and not repeating it day after day. STOP the bleeding.
Q2 IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO TO CHANGE MY ENERGY LEVEL? – 27:43
Once you know why your energy level is low, you can actually do something about it. Go eat something healthy. Stand up and stretch. Take a break and go for a quick walk to move the body and rest the mind. You’ll be surprised at just doing something different that puts positive fuel in your body or even gets you moving, will do for low energy.
And every once in awhile I’ve just stopped and taken a nap. I know, right?! I’m not talking 2-3 hours but 20-30 minutes. But instead of pushing through with little to no results, I actually accomplished more in that last two hours than most afternoons. Find what you can do to change your energy level immediately. Stand. Stretch. Walk. Just move, man.
Q3 HOW CAN I MATCH MY TASKS WITH MY ENERGY? – 28:11
Sometimes a small tweak is just not going to change your energy level. So, I pick a low energy task that requires more time and dedicate the time to that task. I have a list of low energy tasks that I can turn to at any given moment that need forward motion. These are the no-brainer, little to no thinking tasks that need attention but definitely NOT during high energy moments.
Often, just working on a few of these tasks for 15 or 30 minutes is all I need to snap me out of the low energy funk.
Other times, I’m going to ride the low energy tasks out for the remainder of my day because it’s just one of those days. Not a big deal mid to late afternoon. Major concern if it’s 1:05pm. Learn to match energy with task.
THREE CHANGES THAT CAN GIVE ME A NATURAL ENERGY BOOST – 28:52
1. CHANGE OF POSITION – 28:58
Stretch / stand / walk / push-ups (seriously, try it!), just move. Our bodies aren’t designed to sit in one place for long periods of time and ironically zap energy out of us even though all we’re doing is sitting.
2. CHANGE OF LOCATION – 29:17
What if I worked in a different location? It may mean moving to a different room or possibly a different location with a completely new environment to make the most of the afternoon.
3. CHANGE OF ACTIVITY – 29:34
Learning to have a pulse on my energy is huge for productivity. It’s SO easy to try and force something when the reality is your energy is just not there. Don’t force it. Adjust and evaluate. Sometimes the worst thing is to force something that ends up taking twice as long and half as good. Holy bad math, Batman.
Energy Drink Substitutes – 30:00
WHAT NOW – 31:37
1. Apply the Three Questions: why is my energy low right now? / is there anything I can do to change my energy level? / how can I match my tasks with my energy?
2. Apply the Three Changes: Change of Position / Location / Activity
Next Episode Preview – 33:00
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Audio Editing and Production by Caleb Suwanski