Monday, May 7, 2007

Sham: The Dangers of Energy Drinks

Everyone likes a kick in the pants in the morning to wake up. For years, I was a big coffee drinker, and I still enjoy an espresso now and again. But there was a time in my life when I was totally and completely hooked on that caffeine buzz to get my day started.

Luckily, that bad habit has fallen away, mostly due to a product called Arctic Root® that I take each morning. (Arctic Root® is an adaptogen and it has a clinically proven effect to "clear the mental fog" without stimulating the body as caffeine does. We'll discuss it and other adaptogens in more detail in a future post.)

However, a recent visit to a college campus taught me that not only are kids enjoying lots of coffee to get a kick start, they are literally pouring down energy drinks of every kind and description. Just a few years ago, Mountain Dew was the energy drink of choice and now there are more than 100 varieties, all with huge amounts of caffeine and herbal stimulants. The worst part of this trend is that these drinks are often used as mixers for alcohol, which is a really bad combination. (See the attached link to this headline).

When you combine alcohol with a stimulant, you deprive your body of the natural fatigue that sets in to let you know that you've had too much -- that you are drunk. Sure, you can consume more alcohol when it is mixed with a stimulant, but what a mistake that is. There have been a number of deaths attributed to this trend . . . people get behind the wheel thinking that they are "alert" with far more than the legal limit of alcohol in their blood.

Energy drinks push your body into an abnormal level of energy. They literally borrow from tomorrow to keep your body going today, and in this "overextended" mode, your body goes into high-stress and you leave yourself far more open to colds, flu, etc. Plus, the massive amount of sweeteners in these beverages bring along their own set of problems, especially if you are like many of us who are trying to keep the weight off.

It's very deceiving to package a product containing herbs like Guarana and labels such as "natural energy" or "herbal energy." While it is correct that these caffeine-containing herbs are "natural," it certainly isn't different than any other stimulant. Stimulants are not good for you -- period.


No comments: