7 Great Reasons to Give Up Energy Drinks
If you’re anything like me, you love energy drinks. What’s not to love? They taste great and keep you awake to study, play MMORPG, or text your girlfriend. They don’t cost that much and they’re easy to get your hands on late at night. Well, guess what? They’re actually pretty terrible for you. I was shocked when I looked into them and learned how dangerous this habit of mine really is. Read on to see for yourself some pretty vital reasons to “just say no” to energy drinks!
Why it’s time to break up with Energy Drinks…
1. THEY ROT YOUR TEETH: This reason alone is enough to give up energy drinks, if you ask me. I talked to a dentist who said that his lifelong patients who never had a single cavity would come home from their first semester at college needing 10 or more fillings! Drinking energy drinks essentially bathes your teeth in highly acidic liquid that eats away at them for hours after you’re done drinking. Gross.
2. CAFFEINE CAN CAUSE WITHDRAWAL HEADACHES: The more caffeine you consume, the more you’ll suffer from rebound headaches if you try to give it up (or if you go too long without a hit). Some studies show that up to 50% of people experience a throbbing, widespread headache during caffeine withdrawal. Caffeine has a vasoconstrictive effect, meaning it narrows blood vessels and reduces blood flow. With regular caffeine consumption, blood vessels become familiar with this constriction. So yeah, if you get bad headaches throughout the day, maybe consider connecting the dots to when you last had an energy drink.
3. SAY GOODBYE TO SOUND SLEEP: This one is a no-brainer. Revving yourself up with Red Bulls to stay alert, well, will do just that: rev you up! The stimulating effect on neurons will decrease sleep because you’re not giving the effect time to wear off. If you’re going to drink them, it’s best to do it in the morning (um…bad advice alert!) or early afternoon so the caffeine has plenty of time to die off, in which case, hopefully you don’t get a withdrawal headache that will also keep you up at night.
4. THEY’LL MAKE YOU FAT: When you drink a Monster drink or Red Bull, look at the back of the can. It’s actually considered to be two servings (I know, what a joke!) so you have to double the calories and sugar if you plan to drink the whole can. Therefore, it’s easily 200 calories and 50 grams of sugar per can. That’s like eating 13 ½ spoons of sugar. Although the fat grams are zero, it is the calories and sugar that make you fat.
5. SCARY, UNPRONOUNCABLE INGREDIENTS: Read the ingredients in a Monster drink here. I’m guessing you have no more idea than I do what these ingredients are, or where they are derived. What I do know, is that the warning says not to drink them if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or a child. I mean if a drink comes with a warning label and is not safe for the general public…
6. EXCESS SUGAR IS LINKED TO DEPRESSION: In a study in the Depression & Anxiety journal, a link was shown between energy drinks and…you guessed it, depression and anxiety. Over a thousand young men were studied. Those who drank at least one energy drink a day had higher levels of anxiety and depression, which makes sense since high caffeine consumption is associated with anxiety, panic disorders, and mania. Additionally, some of the other ingredients are linked to irritability, tremors, restlessness, and nervousness.
7. TEENAGE HEART ATTACK: If all of the above reasons weren’t enough for you to find another way to stay energized, read this. A 16-year-old in Texas died suddenly after consuming a diet Mountain Dew, a latte, and an energy drink within the span of two hours. He was otherwise healthy. Pretty scary stuff.
If you’re speechless right now, just know that you’re not alone in being an energy drink addict. Americans consume a ton of it. Over 60% of millennials report drinking them regularly. Energy drink companies grows exponentially every year, resulting in it being a multi-billion dollar industry. Red Bull sales in 2016 alone were $3 billion.
So rather than leave you hanging, I’ll give you a few things to turn to rather than Red Bull or Monster when you need energy.
1. GREEN JUICES/SMOOTHIES: These are easy to make with a $20 blender on Amazon. They usually consist of kale, green apples, lemons, celery, and other really basic ingredients. They don’t taste great, but you’ll find you have a lot of natural energy from them, without the jittery high you get from energy drinks.
2. GREEN TEA: It contains a smaller amount of caffeine (even less than coffee), and has many health benefits. It is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer, improves mental clarity, and provides energy for better performance. *Just look for organic so you can avoid pesticides.
3. WATER: The benefits of water are too numerous to mention here, but read this if you want to learn more about why we all need to be downing a ton of pure water every day.
4. VITAMINS: Many of us are lacking essential vitamins and minerals (especially in college when we’re living on things like Ramen noodles). Taking a high-quality multivitamin can ward off the common cold, give us energy, and ensure our bodies are getting what they need.
5. PLENTY OF SLEEP: Getting into a sleep routine where you go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time every morning can improve your concentration, energy levels, and overall quality of life. Read how to sleep better from The Sleep Foundation.
6. PRIORITIZING YOUR TIME: Leaving yourself enough time to tackle all of your “to-do list” each day will undoubtedly prevent the late-night panic sessions that often lead to buying the drinks in the first place. For help in creating an easy-to-follow daily routine, read this.
Good Luck! And remember, it’s what we do most of the time that makes a difference. If you consume an occasional Red Bull, it likely won’t have a significant effect on your long-term health. Just use common sense and try to avoid making them a daily habit.