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The Truth About Energy Drinks

"Would you like some Monster Energy Drink with that coffee?" That’s what our waitress should have said to us, this morning.

Backtrack a minute…Kara and I decided to go to breakfast today — we each got our respective workouts in, then told Ella it was a special treat today and we were going out to eat instead of our normal routine.  Poor thing has been a bit sick so has been mopy for the last couple days.  Time for some change!

She was excited.  And for us there’s just a few weeks left with just the 3 of us … before Baby #2 is here.

After we ordered, I could see our waitress behind our table when she went to the back to get the pot of coffee for refills.  And I noticed her take a sip of a Monster Energy Drink, then put it down and pick up a cup of coffee (I know because she just refilled hers)…

…now it wasn’t that early.  It was about 8:30 or so, particularly since I had been up since 4:30 AM for Mohr Results Boot Camp.  In fact by that time I feel like I should be eating lunch!

choosing an energy drink

I digress.

Then I wondered just how caffeinated we are as a society, as I’m sure her "Monster/Coffee Combo" drink is not that rare. 

Nothing against coffee at all.  In fact, there’s a lot of really good science showing coffee has tons of health benefits.  But how much caffeine is enough?  Or too much?  And at the root of the real problem at hand, how is the lack of sleep people are getting having an impact on health? 

And energy drinks is an entirely different issue.  With over 600 options on the market, ‘Energy Drinks’ are certainly here to stay.

But do the REALLY work?

Red Bull and Monster.  Gels, goo, and even energy chews are popular these days in a market that "Just-drinks.com" says will reach $47 billion by 2014 (it’s currently almost $5 billion).  Pretty impressive for something that’s only been available for around 10 years. 

Crazy.

For all that money spent, they better give a pick up, finish your work at the office and take care of your to do list when you get home too!

So what’s all the hype about?  Do these things actually give you "energy" or merely a false sense of alertness to carry you through the day?

There’s certainly no shortage of claims on the drinks – from improving your workouts and health, to increasing focus and improving alertness.

So let’s pick apart the labels and see what’s in these "magical elixirs" that are surely giving Baristas a run for their money at the local coffee shops….maybe they should start offering a 2 for 1 deal, as this waitress was doing this morning. 

Should we be drinking energy drinks for a daily pick me up? 

Not so fast.  They’re loaded with caffeine (upwards of the equivalent of 3.5 cups of coffee), usually pretty high in sugar, and offer a combination of various amino acids, B vitamins, and some other ingredients that are thought to add to the "energy boost."

Caffeine works.  We know that. 

Sugar does too.  No surprise there.

The B vitamins and amino acids, though, leave a little to be desired.  There actually are some data showing some performance improvements when using energy drinks, but that should be of no surprise — again, caffeine and sugar do work. 

But when you rely on these drinks like a crutch, as so many do (particularly teenagers), they can be addictive (caffeine is, technically, a drug). 

Here’s the other thing — one of the more popular drinks out there — ROCKST*R — has the same amount of calories and sugar as SIX Krispy Kreme doughnuts!  Imagine how you’d feel if you wanted a little pick me up so instead grabbed half a dozen Krispy Kremes!

Want REAL energy?  Here are 6 ways to do that … without slugging energy drink after energy drink.

  1. Sleep more (and take a 20 minute ‘power’ nap if need be)
  2. Exercise.  Daily.
  3. Eat cleaner foods — real foods, loaded with nutrients, give you sustained energy.  Try a piece of fruit and handful of nuts for a quick snack.
  4. Eat breakfast each day
  5. Include some lean protein with each meal and snack
  6. Take a stand and stretch break every 60 or so minutes — rather than staring at a computer for hours on end as your eyes glaze over, stand up, move around a bit and get the blood flowing and your mind clear.

Mohr Results Bottom Line:  Skip the energy drinks and instead give your body true energy without useless added sugars and loads of caffeine.  

Interested in more information about caffeine and any of the other ingredients listed above that are included in energy drinks?  Dietary Supplement University will help you to stop wasting money on dietary supplements and give you the real truth!

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7 Responses to The Truth About Energy Drinks

  1. Angie Schneider August 16, 2010 at 8:46 am #

    I have also heard they are the cause of so many heart attacks in young people!!!! That is very scary!

  2. Mike August 16, 2010 at 10:35 am #

    Coffee with sugar is the adult version of an energy drink in my humble opinion. How many adults do you know have coffee in the morning before work, mid morning and mid afternoon.

    Regardless if this is an energy drink or coffee they both have two common ingredients – caffeine and sugar.
    Cheers!
    Mike

    p.s. How adults drink coffee before a workout or do they drink Red Bull?

    p.p.s. Are these energy drinks linked to obesity?

    • Chris and Kara Mohr August 16, 2010 at 10:41 am #

      Great points, Mike — coffee itself has some unique health benefits, but what you put in it (sugar, syrup, cream, etc) are what will kill you! Not sure if there is a correlation with energy drinks and obesity — the high calorie ones certainly can’t help, though!

    • Grace March 27, 2012 at 8:32 am #

      Yes, energy drinks are linked to obesity, because the amount of sugar in the drinks are about 12.5 to 15 teaspoons of sugar every 16 oz! The human body has difficulty digesting the sugar so it just turns it into fat. Also, people who drink energy drinks regularly find that it is harder to lose weight, even if they work out.

  3. Lynn August 16, 2010 at 11:26 am #

    I’m curious, how do the numbers for energy drinks compare with a 12 oz cans of non-diet soda, in terms of caffeine and sugar? I’m working on kicking my “one can of Coke” per day habit, a challenge I’m struggling with. So I’m working on visualizing it in other ways, like your Krispy Kreme analogy above. That is powerful! How many Krispy Kreme’s add up to a can of Coke, do you know? Thanks!

    • Chris and Kara Mohr August 16, 2010 at 11:47 am #

      Most energy drinks have the equivalent of 1-2 cups of coffee, so higher (I don’t know exactly how much) than soda. In terms of sugar they’re not usually as high as soda, outside of a few, like the Rockstar I mentioned. There are 10 g of sugar in a “regular” Krispy Kreme, meaning about 4 or so would be equal to a can of soda sugar wise.

  4. Mark S August 16, 2010 at 12:17 pm #

    Most times I will have coffee before I work out. In fact, one of the old time great lifters, Doug Hepburn would drink coffee during his workout.

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