Does downing an energy or sports drink give you more energy? Judging from their dramatic sales increase over the past 5 years, many seem to feel so. And there’s no doubt that at least two substances in these products do enhance energy. But are these sources of energy really worth their price?
The two ingredients in energy and sports drinks proven to boost energy are caffeine and glucose. The typical energy booster in an energy drink is caffeine and sports drinks is glucose. And most of these products do contain other stuff that may help as well, e.g. fluid, electrolytes.
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, which improves performance of your muscles and brain. After ingestion you may feel more alert, better able to concentrate, less fatigued and physically ready to go. Or your body gets overstimulated, which causes an upset stomach and makes you feel nervous, restless and irritable.
Although your adipose tissue has the largest store of energy, metabolizing fat from there takes time. So once you’ve tapped out your liver and muscle glycogen stores, ingesting glucose offers up a much quicker replacement.
You can reap a similar energy value in other ways without paying the high price of energy and sports drinks. Drinking a couple of cups of caffeinated coffee you brew yourself is the cheapest route for caffeine stimulation. And drinking down water laced with a bit of table sugar is a nominal price to pay for glucose.
Finally, you could always adjust your diet and exercise regularly for a healthy way, at no additional cost, to sustain energy. Consuming complex carbohydrates provides a steady stream of glucose because of their slower digestion and absorption rate. And regular exercise gives you a boost of energy boost via increased endorphin level.