It’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and you’re stuck at work until at least 5. You’re tired, cranky, and still have a mound of paperwork to go through before punching out for the day...
It’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and you’re stuck at work until at least 5. You’re tired, cranky, and still have a mound of paperwork to go through before punching out for the day. You can’t stop yawning, yet the thought of drinking yet another cup of the disgusting brew the office serves as “coffee” sounds about as appetizing as does working overtime.
Is there anything that can provide the “pick me up” that you’re looking for to get you through the rest of the day? Yes, there is, and it comes in the form of an energy drink!
What are Energy Drinks?
Although calories can certainly provide the body with energy, the energy contained in these drinks comes in the form of various stimulants, vitamins, and amino acids. Energy drinks are flavored beverages containing various amounts of caffeine and other energy boosters including B vitamins, taurine, carnitine, herbal supplements, and guarana to name a few.
Energy drinks are available in cans or bottles at grocery stores, vending machines, and at convenience stores as well as at bars and other outlets where alcohol also is sold. They’re literally, EVERYWHERE.
Energy drinks are marketed to improve concentration and alertness and enhance both mental and physical performance. Energy shots, on the other hand, provide a more concentrated dose of caffeine, and are generally are sold in single serving “shot” sized plastic bottles.
Benefits of Energy Drinks
Energy drinks contain little to no calories, for the most part, and can easily fit into any diet plan. Energy drinks are designed to:
Boost strength and endurance
Although there are a plethora of energy drinks to choose from with just as many different ingredient contents, there are several similarities that nearly all of them will contain. The more common ingredients that you will see in a typical energy drink are:
Caffeine This one is a no-brainer. When people think energy and stimulants, caffeine is the first word that jumps to mind. This will provide a boost in energy and enhance mental focus and concentration.
Taurine An amino acid which resides in large quantities in the brain and heart. It’s easily obtained in the diet from eating meat and fish. Taurine is also known to improve mental and physical performance.
Tyrosine Another amino acid that is used by the body to produce the neurotransmitters dopamine and noradrenaline. It also helps to combat stress and preserve memory. Another little known benefit is that tyrosine can boost cognition in times of sleep deprivation! This is a big plus for students cramming for finals that are constantly stressed and cramming at all hours of the night.
Guarana Guarana comes from a plant indigenous to South America. It’s caffeine content is higher than that of coffee beans, potentially making it a more potent source of the stimulant. It’s also slightly different than “caffeine” in that it contains: theobromine and theophylline. They’re also found in different concentrations in coffees, teas, and chocolate. However, just like caffeine, guarana will increase energy and focus
B Vitamins The B Complex Vitamins won’t give you immediate energy like so many people think. They play a vital role in the way our bodies convert glucose into ATP (energy source for muscles), thereby releasing energy from the food we eat. It’s by this mechanism that B vitamins play a role in energy production.
There are plenty of other ingredients you’ll find among the different brands (ginseng, gluconolactone, l-carnitine, etc) which will get into here, but these are the most common ones that nearly all of the current energy drinks on the market will contain.
Note: As with stimulant based pre-workouts, follow the directions on the container, especially if you are sensitive to caffeine. Don’t be one of those people that shotguns energy drinks with alcohol and ruin a perfectly good product for the masses.
When you’re tired of drinking coffee and need a quick hit of energy to get you through the day, or to finish a long study session, energy drinks provide a convenient source of energy to get you over the hump. Look around and find one that fits your taste preferences and pop one open the next time you need a boost!