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Benefits of Energy Drinks

Energy Drinks: Benefits, Risks, and Ingredients

Energy drinks have surged in popularity over the past decade, becoming a staple for many seeking a quick energy boost. It is the second most consumed beverage in the US, with a significant portion of their consumers being teenagers aged 13-35.

According to Statista, the global market for energy drinks and sports drinks generated revenue of approximately USD 193 billion in 2023 alone and is projected to reach over USD 240 billion by 2027.

But are energy drinks safe? In this article, we will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of energy drinks, providing complete information on what you should know.

What are Energy Drinks?

Energy drinks are beverages that contain ingredients to provide an instant boost to your energy and mental performance. The primary energy drink ingredients include caffeine, sugar, amino acid derivatives, herbal extracts, and vitamin B. The amount of ingredients, primarily caffeine, can vary with the energy drink.

However, as per NCCIH, there are two types of energy drinks—one is sold in 16-oz. bottles, similar to ordinary soft drinks, whereas another is energy shots, sold in small containers of 2-2.5 oz. Caffeine is the major ingredient in both types of energy drinks, at levels of 70-240 mg in a 16 oz. drink and 113-200 mg in an energy shot.

What are the Benefits of Energy Drinks?

energy drink

  • Improves brain function: Several studies show that caffeine and sugar in energy drinks can help improve memory, concentration and reaction time and at the same time reduce mental fatigue. In fact, drinking just one can of Red Bull increases concentration and memory by 24%.
  • Energy Support During Fatigue: Energy drinks are consumed for a temporary lift, mainly to make people alert and active when they feel sleepy. Whether it is about staying awake all night, a long day at work, or driving for hours, these drinks can temporarily relieve fatigue. However, these beverages can change the sleep quality.

Should You Consume Energy Drinks?

Moderation is the key to healthy living. So, when consumed in moderation, energy drinks are not likely to be harmful. However, drinking them regularly can lead to adverse health issues, especially for people with existing medical history.

Since energy drinks contain high levels of caffeine and sugar, overconsumption of caffeine can even kill a person. The common side effects of overconsumption of energy drinks include:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • High blood pressure
  • Headache
  • Jittery feeling
  • Dehydration
  • Low insulin sensitivity and increased blood sugar level

The more energy drinks you consume, the more side effects you will experience. So, pay attention to the caffeine and sugar content of energy drinks.

Which is Better – Energy Drinks Or Coffee?

While you will get the same energy spike and crash in both cases, coffee is better than energy drinks.

Energy drinks are loaded with synthetic caffeine, sugar, and artificial ingredients. Synthetic caffeine is absorbed faster, creating quicker and more intense highs and lows, which can exacerbate the potential for caffeine-related health issues.

Moreover, when you consume an energy drink, you are also consuming sugar, which can significantly impact your overall well-being.

On the other hand, natural energy drinks, like coffee, contain antioxidants and natural caffeine, making them much better than energy drinks.

Top 10 Energy Drink Ingredients

Caffeine

Caffeine is the most common stimulant in energy drinks, known for boosting alertness. While it’s effective for enhancing energy and concentration, excessive intake can lead to nervousness, insomnia, heart palpitations, and increased blood pressure. It’s generally advisable not to consume caffeine over 200mg at a time, no more than twice a day.

Ginseng

Ginseng is often included for its supposed benefits in improving focus and energy. However, some people may experience side effects such as headaches, sleep problems, and digestive issues. Those with autoimmune diseases or those taking diabetic medications should avoid ginseng.

B Vitamins

While B vitamins are essential for energy production in the body, they are generally safe unless taken in extremely high doses. Overconsumption can lead to nerve damage or gastrointestinal problems.

Sugar

High sugar content is a common feature of many energy drinks – in fact, some energy drinks contain 62 grams of sugar, which is much more than the daily suggested sugar intake. It can lead to weight gain, spikes in blood sugar levels, and a high risk of type 2 diabetes.

Taurine

Taurine is an amino acid that helps regulate the level of water and minerals in the blood and supports neurological development. It is generally considered safe to consume 3000 mg of Taurine a day. However, as per a study, 6000 mg of Taurine daily can have negative effects..

Green Tea Extract

Green tea extract is a source of antioxidants and caffeine. While it offers health benefits, such as improved brain function and fat loss, high doses can lead to liver damage, dizziness, and blood pressure fluctuations.

Guarana

Guarana is another caffeine-rich ingredient. It can enhance physical endurance and cognitive performance but should be used cautiously due to its very high caffeine content, which can amplify caffeine’s side effects.

Green Coffee Extract

Green coffee extract, derived from unroasted coffee beans, is high in caffeine and chlorogenic acid. It may promote weight loss and blood pressure reduction but can also cause restlessness, anxiety, and other caffeine-related side effects.

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba is known for its potential cognitive benefits. However, it can also thin the blood and cause complications during surgery or interact adversely with medications like anticoagulants.

Carnitine

Carnitine plays a role in energy production by transporting fatty acids into cells’ mitochondria. While consuming less than 3 grams of carnitine a day is generally safe, a study found that excessive intake can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Why is Healthy Energy Drink a Lucrative Product Idea?

Despite the harmful effects of energy drinks, the energy drink industry is growing. Why? Well, the beverages from the top energy drink manufacturers like Red Bull, Monster, or Rockstar come with several health risks. But consumer awareness has made people move towards better options – healthy energy drinks.

Did you know that global energy drink sales were estimated to reach $53.1 billion by 2022 and are expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.1% and reach $86.1 billion by 2027?

This demand fuels the development of products that can tap into the lucrative market while promoting healthier choices. For instance, Celsius or Celsius Live Fit has launched its energy drink, which is sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, and Kosher. It is free from processed food ingredients, such as fructose corn syrup, aspartame, and artificial food colors. However, remember that this energy drink also contains caffeine, taurine, and guarana – the staple ingredients of any energy drink.

Another example of a healthy energy drink is the Zevia Zero Calorie Energy drink. The company uses stevia plants in its products. So, you do not need to worry about high sugar content and artificial sweeteners. However, the caffeine content in this energy drink is still high.

If you are also planning to launch a new healthy energy drink that is good for people in the market and wondering where to start, don’t worry. Food Scientist For Hire is here to help you. We are professional food consultants who can help you formulate a healthy energy drink while considering the recommended dosages of caffeine and other staple ingredients of energy drinks.

So, what are you waiting for? Get in touch with our team to discuss your requirements and venture into the growing market of all-natural energy drinks.

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