Are Energy Drinks Destroying Your Health? – Meal Replacement Shakes Are Energy Drinks Destroying Your Health? – Meal Replacement Shakes

Energy drinks are a popular go-to beverage when you need a quick hit of energy to power through your busy day. But if you’re looking to lose weight or trying to eat healthier, energy drinks are actively working against your goals

Read on to learn more about why energy drinks are bad for you and five healthier alternatives to try instead…

Why Are Energy Drinks Bad for You?

They’re Loaded With Sugar

A typical 16 oz energy drink beverage has anywhere from 54 to 62 grams of added sugar. That’s double the amount of sugar recommended per day by the American Heart Association… in just one can! (1,2

It’s okay to enjoy a sweet treat every once in a while! But if you’re consuming energy drinks every single day that’s close to 50 pounds of sugar you’re putting in your body every year. 

And all that sugar plays a big role in your health. Research shows that regular consumption of sugary beverages (like energy drinks!) increases your risk of developing serious health concerns, like type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease. (3

They’re Not Regulated

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate energy drinks. Although the FDA does enforce a caffeine limit on soda beverages, energy drink manufacturers can sidestep this regulation if they classify their beverage as a health or dietary supplement (which many do!). (4)

If energy drink manufacturers do consider themselves a beverage, there are voluntary caffeine guidelines from the American Beverage Association and recommendations for reporting adverse effects. However, these guidelines are voluntary which means that compliance is not always guaranteed. In other words, there is zero oversight on what goes into a can of energy drink. (4)

They Contain Too Much Caffeine 

Energy drinks have anywhere from 120 to 500 mg or more of caffeine. To give you some perspective, here’s how much caffeine you’ll find in other beverages: (4,5,6)

  • A 12oz can of soda has around 30-40 mg 
  • An 8-ounce cup of tea has 30-50 mg 
  • An 8-ounce cup of coffee has anywhere from 80 to 100 mg 

This means energy drinks often have twice the amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee and four times that of soda or tea. And health experts recommend no more than 200 mg of caffeine per beverage. This puts some energy drinks well above the recommended daily dose. (4) 

And because they’re unregulated, there’s no requirement for energy drink manufacturers to declare their actual caffeine content. This means it’s a bit of a guessing game on exactly how much caffeine is in your energy drink. As a result, many contain more caffeine than what’s listed on the side label or, worse, don’t even list their caffeine content. (1,5)

This startling level of caffeine in one drink can have some pretty detrimental effects such as: (1,4)

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Elevated stress levels
  • Anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Stomach discomfort
  • And more!

These health impacts are especially harmful to teens and adolescents who often represent the target market for energy drinks. (4

5 Healthier Alternatives to Energy Drinks

If you’re looking for an alternative to the high-sugar and caffeine content in your energy drink, there are healthier options to turn to instead. While some contain caffeine (in much smaller amounts!) others are more natural ways of increasing your energy levels throughout the day. 

Tea

A cup of tea on a green plate

A great energy drink substitute is a steamy, hot beverage of caffeinated (or decaffeinated!) tea. The warmth of the tea helps you feel full. And the different flavors from fruit to floral satisfy your sweet cravings while providing a more natural boost of energy. Because tea doesn’t have as much caffeine as an energy drink or a cup of coffee, it’s also a great way to start weaning yourself off of caffeine without needing to go cold turkey. 

When looking for tea options, choose unsweetened flavors whenever you can. If you need to add extra sweetness to your cup, avoid adding sugar or honey and opt for sugar substitutes instead. And look for proven ingredients like matcha, green tea, oolong tea, yerba mate, or ginger for optimal health-boosting benefits.

These ingredients contain powerful antioxidants that could help: (7)

  • Boost your metabolism
  • Reduce bloating
  • Ease an upset stomach
  • Support your digestive system
  • And more! 

They also help to naturally flush your body of impurities that may be draining you of mental and physical energy.

Coffee

Cup of coffee and coffee beans in sack on wooden table

While this stimulating drink has been villainized in the past, current research shows that there are some health benefits to drinking coffee (as long as you’re not loading up on the sugar!):

  • It’s high in antioxidants: Coffee is naturally rich in antioxidants that help fight free radicals in your body. Free radicals are molecules that in overabundance can lead to imbalance and disease. This means your cup of coffee can help keep you healthy and feeling your best! (8)
  • Contains essential nutrients: Coffee is also a source of some essential nutrients that support optimal wellness. Just one cup of coffee contains riboflavin (or vitamin B2), pantothenic acid (or vitamin B5), manganese, potassium, magnesium, and niacin (or vitamin B3). (8)
  • Improves Brain Function: Studies show that caffeine in coffee could help improve various aspects of brain function (like memory, mood, energy, vigilance, reaction times, and mental performance). (9)
  • Supports better health & wellness: Due to its high amounts of polyphenols—or plant-based molecules packed with antioxidants—coffee helps reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. This helps keep your body healthy and happy! (8)
  • Boosts heart health: While some sources used to state that coffee was bad for your heart, recent data shows it may protect heart health! This is one of the main reasons that studies show drinking coffee may help you live longer. (9)

Better yet, add some protein to your coffee for an extra health and energy boost that’ll keep you feeling full all morning long! 

Keto Coffee

bulletproof coffee, blended with organic grass fed butter and MCT coconut oil, paleo, keto, ketogenic drink breakfast

Even if you aren’t following the keto diet, keto coffee is still an incredibly delicious energy drink replacement (that’s good for you too!). This is due to the nutrient-packed, high-fat ingredients it contains, and how energized it makes you feel. 

In fact, some fats are good for your heart and overall health! The key is to eat nutritious sources of fat that both satisfy and provide numerous health benefits—and MCT Oil and grass-fed butter are two of the best sources.

Due to the shorter chain fats in MCT Oil (medium-chain triglycerides), it’s also absorbed rapidly into your body after consumption. This creates an instant boost of energy—and an increase in metabolism. For this reason, it’s one of the best fat-burning and high-energy foods. And since it’s an oil, it’s also a powerful appetite suppressor. (10)

To make Keto Coffee you start with a brew of your favorite coffee. Then add the hot drink into a blender with grass-fed butter, MCT Oil, and your choice of mix-ins. Learn more about the benefits and how to make Keto Coffee in our blog.

High-Protein Shake

Fruit smoothie drink made of fresh raspberry and mint

High-protein shakes are some of the best (and tastiest) ways to get quality nutrients into your day. And you’ll notice that when you increase your intake of high-quality ingredients like antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, protein, healthy fats, and fiber, your natural energy levels increase as well. 

When your body is operating on a full tank, you have more energy and stamina for all the tasks you need to get done across the day. This helps limit the amount of caffeine (and high-sugar energy drinks!) you need to power through your daily activities. 

Kombucha

Homemade Fermented Raw Kombucha Tea Ready to Drink

If you’re looking for a cold, refreshing beverage to replace your energy drink habits then kombucha could be a great alternative for you. Kombucha is a carbonated tea beverage loaded with gut-supporting probiotics. It’s made with yeast, sugar, and black tea. (11

As the yeast ferments, a colony of healthy bacteria grows. By enjoying a glass of kombucha, you can supply your gut with these healthy bacteria that support your body’s optimal digestion. By supporting your digestive system, kombucha helps naturally promote greater energy levels. And thanks to the probiotics, it could also help move things along in your digestive system so you’re not only energized but feeling your best. 

But keep an eye on the back label and watch out for added sugars because some kombucha beverages have almost as much sugar as a can of soda! 

 

Ready for more healthy eating tips and suggestions? Head to our blog for guidance on everything from carbs to probiotics to what to eat after a workout

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/energy-drinks
  2. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sugar/how-much-sugar-is-too-much
  3. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-drinks/sugary-drinks/
  4. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/energy-drinks/
  5. https://www.sutterhealth.org/health/nutrition/risks-of-energy-drinks
  6. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/spilling-beans-how-much-caffeine-too-much
  7. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/antioxidants-in-green-and-black-tea
  8. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270202
  9. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/9-reasons-why-the-right-amount-of-coffee-is-good-for-you
  10. https://www.webmd.com/diet/mct-oil-health-benefits-common-uses
  11. https://www.webmd.com/diet/the-truth-about-kombucha

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