You’re in the library, it’s nearing midnight, your to-do list isn’t shrinking, and your eyes are blinking shut. Nothing sounds better than putting on your most comfy pj’s, hopping in bed, and forgetting about the laundry list of things you have to get done in the next 12 hours. But, no, you have to buckle down and power through, which may seem near impossible without the help of an outside substance.
Enter: energy drinks.
Energy drinks almost seem too good to be true. A fizzy, soda-like drink that gives you a boost of energy and productivity? Sign me up. But there has to be a downside, right?
In short, yes.
The main ingredients in almost any energy drink, regardless of the brand, are caffeine and sugar. These ingredients work in tandem to give you a temporary boost in energy. A standard energy drink has the same amount of caffeine, or sometimes more, as a cup of coffee.
The caffeine convinces your brain that you’re alert and awake, stimulating your neurons and blocking the release of adenosine, a chemical that makes you feel sleepy. Caffeine takes care of the brain, while sugar boosts energy in the body. One energy drink has about the same amount of sugar as a can of Coke – about 30 grams, which is the recommended daily allotment for a healthy adult. This sugar provides the substance to power your cells, giving them an intense, but short-lived surge of energy.
Such an extreme and sudden increase in energy must have negative consequences on our bodies, right?
Yes. In fact, a recent study by the Mayo Clinic found that consumption of one 16-ounce energy drink can lead directly to increased blood pressure and higher levels of stress hormones in otherwise perfectly healthy adults.
Once the initial burst of productivity wears off, you’re likely to feel sluggish and even more tired than before you drank it. While energy drinks can be good for short term or desperate productivity, the after effects on your mood and body may not be worth it. So, next time you find yourself half awake in the library, instead of knocking back an energy drink, try these exercises or eat one of these snacks to keep you going strong.