Energy Drinks: Good or Bad?

The thought of opening up a can and getting instant energy is surely appealing. But, this kind of energy is not always healthy for you. Too many times, college students or anyone else looking for an instant boost reaches for names like Monster, Rockstar and Red Bull. Sponsorship of athletic teams and celebrity endorsements add to the appeal. And, since you can easily get them at gas stations and grocery stores, it’s not a surprise that many people think they’re safe.

However, these trendy beverages (not the same as sports drinks) are a dangerous mix of chemicals, sugar, caffeine, and stimulants that aren’t good for you.

Labeling Confusion

Most energy drinks aren’t well-regulated by the FDA. This means that the companies that market these energy drinks can advertise them as dietary supplements and they don’t have to slap on a nutrition facts label either. Consumers are left wondering if what they’re getting is really what’s being advertised.

Even the energy drinks that are FDA-approved aren’t required to label the amount of caffeine they contain or the other stimulants. So, you’re not getting the product’s whole stimulant dose on the label and therefore can’t make an educated decision if you should drink it or not.

Affects Health

According to one study, drinking a 32 ounce can of an energy drink can lead to harmful changes in heart function and blood pressure that are far beyond what you see with caffeine alone. With over 500 energy drink products being sold, they’re gaining popularity and this leads to a significant increase in energy drink-related ER visits and deaths.

Healthy Alternatives

When looking for healthy vending snacks, why not include one of these healthier beverage alternatives as well:

  • Green Tea: There are smaller amounts of caffeine in green tea than coffee.
  • Green Smoothies and Juices: These green drinks are loaded with green vegetables like parsley, spinach and kale making them a good source of the B vitamins your body needs.
  • Protein Shakes: When you’re not getting enough protein, it can cause fatigue. Give yourself a boost and nutrition with a high-quality protein shake.
  • Water:  Perhaps water is the only energy drink you need to keep your body hydrated.
  • Coconut water: Coconut water is chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Fans and manufacturers of energy drinks say these beverages are just as safe as caffeine, however, there’s not a lot of research that supports this claim. Therefore, healthy vending machine drinks are probably a much better choice.

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