As our understanding of popular food products has grown over the years, many people have come to recognize the pitfalls of energy drinks, especially given the amount of sugar many of these products contain. At this point, it’s been well-documented how ingesting large amounts of sugar can lead to a variety of health problems, from obesity and heart disease to insulin resistance and diabetes, which explains why the manufacturers of the most popular energy drink brands have begun producing sugar-free versions of their beverages. This may seem like a great idea to some, but simply swapping out the sugar for some synthetic sweetener doesn’t necessarily allay every concern surrounding energy drinks. So, are sugar-free energy drinks bad for you? To find out, keep reading as the amino acid supplement experts at aminoVITAL® discuss this topic below.
Why Sugar-Free Energy Drinks Might Be Bad for You
These days, it can seem like everything’s bad for you, so it probably won’t come as a surprise to learn that sugar-free energy drinks have made the list. Unlike with some products, however, there are concrete, scientifically sound reasons why these beverages are considered unhealthy. We’ll look at two of the top issues with sugar-free energy drinks here:
Pretty much anyone who uses energy drinks – sugar-free or otherwise – does so for the invigorating effect they have on the body and mind, which is most often the result of caffeine. Some brands include other types of stimulants, such as guarana or ginseng, which can enhance the energizing effects of these drinks. While this method of boosting users’ energy levels is often effective – at least in the short term – it also comes with some unpleasant side effects and may even lead to substantial health risks.
On average, a cup of coffee has about 90 mg of caffeine; by comparison, an energy drink can have several hundred milligrams per can. Drink just two of the stronger drink brands, and you could far exceed the maximum amount a person is supposed to consume. If a jolt of energy is your goal, this high caffeine content may seem great, but this level of caffeine intake has been associated with poor sleep quality, anxiety, headaches, and low mood, as well as physical dangers like rapid heart rate, seizures, and a heightened susceptibility to stress1.
Although the lack of sugar in sugar-free energy drinks may reduce the health risks associated with their use, drink manufacturers need to replace that aspect of their product’s flavor somehow; the result is the addition of artificial sweeteners such as sucralose or acesulfame K (Ace-K). These ingredients are favored as a sugar alternative because they don’t add any calories to an energy drink but still provide a sweet flavor.
While this may seem like the perfect solution to the problem of energy drinks’ high sugar content, the sweeteners added to sugar-free energy drinks may be just as bad for you. Both sucralose and Ace-K have been linked to cancer in animal studies, and the lack of clarity regarding their long-term effects on humans makes it hard to say whether they’re safe for people to consume. Public health groups and researchers have called for further investigation2 into the safety of artificial sweeteners, but the question of how bad these compounds might be for you has yet to be settled.
Alternatives to Sugar-Free Energy Drinks
If you use standard or sugar-free energy drinks on a regular basis, you probably already know that it can be tough to cut them out of your routine. People can easily become dependent on these highly caffeinated products to keep their energy levels up throughout the day, and quitting them outright may even lead to caffeine withdrawal. If you use energy drinks and dread the prospect of stopping, know that there are safer alternatives; we’ll look at a few of these below:
Like sugar-free energy drinks, green tea gets its energy-boosting abilities from caffeine, but it’s a lot gentler on the system than some other beverages. The effects of the caffeine in green tea are tempered by the presence of theanine, an amino acid that smooths out the energy boost and limits any side effects. Plus, green tea has been linked to fat loss and a host of other benefits, making it a worthy replacement for your usual energy drink.
Amino Acid Supplements
Though they don’t provide the same kind of jolt as a big dose of caffeine, amino acid energy supplements can nonetheless serve as a great source of fuel for your body, especially during exercise. That’s because the muscles can use branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) as a source of energy when your body’s glycogen stores run out, and these amino acids can also limit exercise-related fatigue by inhibiting the buildup of serotonin in the brain.
Given its unparalleled popularity, you’re certainly familiar with coffee’s benefits already, but it may be worth revisiting if you’re trying to quit sugar-free energy drinks. Unless you add it yourself, sugar is also absent from coffee, and it has a more moderate amount of caffeine than most energy drinks. It’s also widely available, and its caffeine content may help ward off some of the symptoms of withdrawal.
Try an Amino Acid Supplement for More Energy During Your Next Workout
Just because sugar-free energy drinks could be bad for you doesn’t mean you have to dismiss the idea of energy supplements altogether. Amino acid-based products like those from aminoVITAL® can offer a host of benefits for the fitness-minded, including greater gains, better energy and endurance, and a swifter recovery after a tough workout. Learn more about how amino acid supplements work by visiting aminoVITAL® online or calling (888) 264-6673 today.