The UK Energy Drink Epidemic
The UK has been going through somewhat of an energy drinks epidemic over the last few years. Whilst top brand name energy drinks like Red Bull remain overpriced, many considerably cheaper alternatives, such as LSV, have started to pop up at a fraction of the cost.
Energy drinks have become popular in the UK for a variety of reasons and one of these reasons is that some energy drinks have now also become much cheaper than healthy drinks including milk in addition to most soft drinks.
Getting High On Energy Drinks
Whilst many health and fitness fanatics do indeed consume energy drinks for legitimate reasons, they have also become popular among drinkers and clubbers who mix them with a variety of alcoholic drinks to give them an extra boost. Even more worrying, perhaps, is the fact that many youngster have now started to mix energy drinks with e-cigarette liquids to create a new popular craze called Penguin, the intention being that they not only get a boost from the energy drink but they also get high from the nicotine.
Already this has been proven to be extremely dangerous. It's true that nicotine is more poisonous to humans than cyanide but what about energy drinks specifically, do they really do what the manufacturers claim? The science behind it would seem to indicate that no, they don't.
The truth is that whilst energy drinks may be useful to athletes and those who are into health and fitness, it's a myth that they are of any benefit to people who are simply tired or lacking in energy. According to Dr Neil Stanley from the British Sleep Society, the only thing your body requires when you're tired is more sleep. Energy drinks boost blood-sugar levels which is good for athletes but not really for anyone else.
Why Energy Drinks Don't Work
Many people claim that they actually feel more tired after consuming energy drinks and then wonder why this would be the case. However, this may very well depend on the ingredients of the product they are consuming. Essentially, most energy drinks contain caffeine which, of course, is a known stimulant which can indeed temporarily provide relief from fatigue. At this basic level, energy drinks are no different to drinking coffee.
Also usually included in the ingredients are B vitamins such as vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, and other ingredients such as niacin and riboflavin. Scientific experiments have confirmed that, in actual fact, these are of no benefit to the body whatsoever unless it actively requires them. Another thing to consider which already causes much controversy is that some these drinks also contain aspartame which is an artificial sweetener.
Aspartame is also a source of phenylalanine and can therefore act as a laxative. Some studies have also shown that aspartame causes the same level of brain damage at any dose and it has also been linked to many illnesses.
Why Energy Drinks Make You Tired
Whilst some energy drinks may do what they claim (but are only useful to athletes and suchlike), other energy drinks may make you more tired. The reason for this is usually because they contain taurine. Whilst taurine is an acid containing an animo, it is technically not an amino acid.
Whilst taurine has been shown to be beneficial in numerous ways in tested animals, all of them endured the side effect of trachycardia. Additionally, none of the benefits were related to retaining or improving energy levels. Taurine is, however, a vital necessity to the human body.
The problem here lies in the fact that taurine and caffeine have been mixed together. Whilst taurine increases heart rate but not energy levels, it also neutralizes the effects of caffeine, the only true source of energy in your drink, and can actually make you feel more tired rather than more alert. The science behind energy drinks may therefore very well be pseudoscience.
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