Pick your poison: Pepsi, Diet Coke, Monster, Vitamin Water, 5 Hour Energy? A new study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control found that 1 in every 2 Americans above the age of 2 consume at least one sugary drink daily.
Unbeknownst to most people, caffeine is considered a drug and it’s very possible to develop an addiction to it. But a caffeine craving every day is only one side effect of ingesting sugary drinks.
Sugar, in the form of Glucose, is one of the main fuels your body uses to create energy. That’s why every time you ingest something sugary, you get that boost in brain and body function. But your body only needs a certain amount of sugar, less than you think and certainly less than the amount of sugar in a Coca Cola.
When you over consume sugar, your body releases insulin which binds to the sugar and causes it to become fat. But this kind of fat is not easy to get rid of. Sugar is a very simple molecule when it comes to structure which is why it’s consumed so easily, but once it gets converted to fat it becomes a very complex molecule that’s hard to break down. So it’s easy to gain but very hard to lose.
Diet drinks are even worse than regular energy drinks because they contain artificial sugar, which is more complex than natural sugar. Both artificial and natural sugars can also damage teeth and lead to cavities and tooth decay.
And if there’s sugar in your drink, there’s a good chance there’s also caffeine. Caffeine is what’s known as a psychoactive substance, but unlike most psychoactive substances it is legal and unregulated. According to the FDA, 90% of Americans consume caffeine daily. But the side effects of gratuitous amounts of caffeine should be stressed:
-Caffeine excretes water out of your system which can cause dehydration. For every 1% your body is dehydrated, body function and performance decreases by 10%.
-Excessive caffeine intake has also been linked to nervousness, insomnia, arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm), increased urination, and anxiety.
-The “crash” effect caused by caffeine can lead to nausea, anxiety, and seizures.
However, energy drinks in moderation are normal. A cup of coffee a day is not going to give you a heart attack. Just be careful that your one cup of coffee doesn’t lead to three or four cans of soda or Red Bull a day. And there are healthy alternatives to energy drinks.
Tea is great way to get that morning pick-me-up. Its natural herbal ingredients open up the lungs to allow more oxygen to get to your brain to help you feel more awake. Gatorade is also a good substitute. It does contain sugar, but it also contains electrolytes which prevent that “crash-and-burn” effect.
And parents, try to keep your kids off the energy drinks and sodas. They do your child no good and don’t belong in their diet. Adults can handle soda and coffee because our digestive systems metabolize it easier than a child’s.
For kids, I would suggest natural, sugar free apple juice.