Energy Drinks: What’s in them?

Over the past few years energy drinks have become very popular to drink in hopes to increase energy. But what ingredients are in them? This article explores the ingredients of common energy drinks.

Michigan State University Extension has put together a list of the most common ingredients found in energy drinks and their effects. Read the following facts to make sure you and your family are drinking the safest options.

Caffeine- It is the most common ingredient and is the chemical that provides the energy boost. Effects vary on the body depending on weight, gender and individual sensitivity to caffeine. Caffeine can make you feel more alert and has been shown to help exercise endurance, but it can also have some negative side effects, such as heart palpitations and insomnia.

Taurine- Taurine is one of the most abundant amino acids located in the brain. It acts as a chemical messenger that allows cells to communicate with one another. Not much information is known about the longterm effects of ingesting large amounts of Taurine. Taurine is likely safe in small doses, but currently there is little research on consumption in humans.

Guarana- A South American plant found in the rainforest in the Amazon that produces seeds that have 4-5 percent caffeine content. Compared to a coffee bean with a 1-2 percent caffeine content. It has the same benefits, risks and potential side effects of caffeine.

Ginseng- An extract made from the root of the ginseng plant. Ginseng may increase brainpower, but is not regulated by the FDA. This may also interact with medications such as insulin, oral hypoglycemic, blood thinners and diuretics.

Sugar- This could be in the form of sucrose, glucose, fructose, corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup. Sugar is known to give an instant boost, but after very little time, will cause a crash in both energy and alertness. Sugar also has four calories per gram which can add up to a lot of non-nutritional calories.

Some other common ingredients include: B Vitamins, Glucuronolactone and Carnitine.

It is important to understand what type of ingredients you are putting in your body. Energy drinks may provide a boost of energy, but there could be other side effects to your health.

To learn more about increasing energy through nutrition and exercise, visit your local MSU Extension office.

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