The Lowdown on Energy Drinks - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

The Lowdown on Energy Drinks

  • RecipesMore>>

  • Tomato Basil Pasta, 9/1/14

    Tomato Basil Pasta, 9/1/14

    Monday, September 1 2014 12:26 PM EDT2014-09-01 16:26:50 GMT
    Serge KrikorianDinner's Ready2 Servings2 Tbls. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided5 Tbls. Unsalted Butter, divided (NOT margarine)1 tsp. Minced Garlic1 Shallot, minced1 Pt. Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise8-10 Leaves Fresh Basil, cut into ribbonsSalt Ground Black Pepper, to tasteGrated Parmigiano reggiano cheese, for garnish4 oz. Penne Pasta (or pasta of your choice), cooked according to package directionsOption Add-Ins: Diced Grilled Chicken, Sauteed Shrimp, sauteed sliced fresh...More >>
    Serge KrikorianDinner's Ready2 Servings2 Tbls. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided5 Tbls. Unsalted Butter, divided (NOT margarine)1 tsp. Minced Garlic1 Shallot, minced1 Pt. Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise8-10 Leaves Fresh Basil, cut into ribbonsSalt Ground Black Pepper, to tasteGrated Parmigiano reggiano cheese, for garnish4 oz. Penne Pasta (or pasta of your choice), cooked according to package directionsOption Add-Ins: Diced Grilled Chicken, Sauteed Shrimp, sauteed sliced fresh...More >>
  • Spicy Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce, 8/27/14

    Spicy Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce, 8/27/14

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 11:49 AM EDT2014-08-27 15:49:39 GMT
    Gary DukeAlley Oops4 tomatoes, chopped2 tablespoon olive oil1/2 onion, sliced thinlysalt, black pepper, crushed red pepper and garlic to taste4 eggsfresh mozzarella cheese, cubedparmesan cheesefresh basilbread slices1. In a sauce pan, cook the onions in the olive oil for a few minutes, add the tomatoes and seasoning to mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover, simmer for an additional 15 or 20 minutes.2. Uncover sauce and gentle crack the eggs evenly around your tomato sauce. Place ...More >>
    Gary DukeAlley Oops4 tomatoes, chopped2 tablespoon olive oil1/2 onion, sliced thinlysalt, black pepper, crushed red pepper and garlic to taste4 eggsfresh mozzarella cheese, cubedparmesan cheesefresh basilbread slices1. In a sauce pan, cook the onions in the olive oil for a few minutes, add the tomatoes and seasoning to mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover, simmer for an additional 15 or 20 minutes.2. Uncover sauce and gentle crack the eggs evenly around your tomato sauce. Place ...More >>
  • Summer Shrimp Salad, 8/25/14

    Summer Shrimp Salad, 8/25/14

    Monday, August 25 2014 8:49 AM EDT2014-08-25 12:49:13 GMT
    Capi PeckTrio'sServes 41 1/4 lbs. large Gulf shrimp in the shell2 ears corn on the cobs, steamed, grilled or roasted/ kernels removedFor the dressing:2 cloves garlic, smashed1 1/2 t. cumin1 t. paprika1/2 t. cayenne pepper1/2 c. lime juice1c. olive oil1/2 c. cilantro leavessalt to tasteCombine all dressing ingredients in bowl or jar. Whisk or shake well to combine. Set aside.2 Haas avocados, sliced1/2 c. cilantro leaves8 cups arugula or other greens of your choice?1 half Vidalia or sweet onion...More >>
    Capi PeckTrio'sServes 41 1/4 lbs. large Gulf shrimp in the shell2 ears corn on the cobs, steamed, grilled or roasted/ kernels removedFor the dressing:2 cloves garlic, smashed1 1/2 t. cumin1 t. paprika1/2 t. cayenne pepper1/2 c. lime juice1c. olive oil1/2 c. cilantro leavessalt to tasteCombine all dressing ingredients in bowl or jar. Whisk or shake well to combine. Set aside.2 Haas avocados, sliced1/2 c. cilantro leaves8 cups arugula or other greens of your choice?1 half Vidalia or sweet onion...More >>

Heather Bauer, R.D., nu-train

In 1997, with the introduction of Red Bull, energy drinks began as a significant category in the US market. Since then, the market has grown by 50% almost yearly, and the energy drink market now totals more than four billion dollars. Clearly, this indicates that many Americans are consuming these caffeine laden trendy beverages, but are they really that good for us?

What is an Energy Drink?
Energy drinks, such as Red Bull, Monster, Cocaine, and Hype Energy, are beverages that contain large doses of caffeine, sugar, taurine, and other legal stimulants like ephedrine, guarana, and ginseng. These energy drinks may contain anywhere from 80mg of caffeine for 8 oz (about the equivalent of a strong cup of coffee) to 250mg. Energy drinks purport to have "functionality", including increasing concentration and cognitive performance of the consumer. The basis of these statements, however, lies in inconclusive data, from a limited number of studies. To de-bunk some of these claims, we will breakdown the most common ingredients.

Caffeine
Caffeine is one of the main active ingredients found in energy drinks. In spite of extensive research, the evidence with regard to the health implications of caffeine is inconclusive. There is, however, some evidence that high acute intakes of caffeine are associated with tachycardia (fast heart beat) and acute increases in blood pressure. Too much caffeine may also cause nervousness, irritability, and insomnia. The longer term risks, or possible benefits, of caffeine on cardiovascular disease and diabetes, are less known.

Guarana
Guarana, a native South American plant, contains guaranine, a substance that is chemically similar to caffeine with likely comparable stimulant effects. There is very little information regarding the effects of guarana, and in the US, it is unregulated. As a result, many health professionals are wary of guarana-containing products.

Taurine
Taurine is a normal metabolite in the body that is synthesized from the amino acid cysteine or other sulphur or cysteine containing compounds. Taurine, which is naturally present in the diet, has been shown to have beneficial health effects, including decreasing blood pressure. No published studies have found any negative physiological effects of high intakes of taurine in healthy adults. However, there have been no conclusive studies regarding taurine's interaction with the other stimulants in energy drinks.

The Dangers of Energy Drinks
While none of the common active ingredients in energy drinks seem to be particularly harmful alone, there has been limited research studying the combination of these ingredients on health. Energy drinks' stimulating properties have been anecdotally reported to increase heart rate and blood pressure, dehydrate the body, and prevent sleep. These effects may be particularly harmful if the drinks are used in sporting contexts. Sports drinks, such as Gatorade and Vitamin Water, have certain compositional requirements with regard to carbohydrates, electrolytes, and osmolarity. Energy drinks, on the other hand, do not have these requirements and because they contain caffeine, a known diuretic, they can greatly dehydrate an individual, whereas in sporting events or exercise, they would be needed to rehydrate. In addition, socially energy drinks are now used as mixers for alcoholic cocktails. The danger in this lies in the fact that energy drinks are stimulants and alcohol is a depressant. As a result, the stimulant properties of the energy drinks can mask the feeling of intoxication and can lead a person to drink well beyond the safe limit. Finally, though not necessarily dangerous, energy drinks contain loads of sugar, and therefore contain numerous calories. Thus, consuming energy drinks, especially in place of water, can lead to weight gain.

Healthier Alternatives
Instead of relying on energy drinks to wake you up, there are numerous lifestyle changes you can make to boost your energy naturally.

  1. Eat breakfast. Eating something in the morning can rev up your metabolism and start your day out right.
  2. Eat every few hours. Oftentimes we get tired because our blood sugar drops too low. To prevent the drop, try and eat a healthy meal or snack every few hours.
  3. Drink water. If you're dehydrated, you will feel fatigued. Get your 8-10 8 oz glasses to keep you awake.
  4. Decrease sweets. Consuming products high in sugar will lead to a peak in blood sugar and then a major drop. The drop is what leads to feelings of fatigue. If you cut out sweets, you'll avoid the blood sugar swings.
  5. Exercise! Getting your blood flowing and getting into shape will increase your metabolism and stamina.
  6. Sleep. You'll always feel tired if you don't get your Z's. Try to slow down and aim for at least 7 hours of sleep per night.
Provided by Heather Bauer, a Registered Dietician (RD) specializing in the interrelation between eating habits, metabolism, and lifestyle. Visit nu-train for more tips and tricks and sign up for her monthly newsletter.
*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.