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Do this, not that: tips for healthy living and feeling better

For years, energy drinks have caused one of the greatest buzzes among young adults, both internationally and locally. A spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, Suzanne Farrell, commented on WebMD on the buzz created by energy drinks, stating, “There is scant scientific support for these ingredients to make the kind of claims manufacturers use in hyping their products. Most of the energy from these drinks comes from the sugar and caffeine, not from the unnecessary extras.”

Advertisements and web sites marketing energy drinks in the mass media depict these drinks as giving the consumer optimum efficiency and work abilities. These same advertisements tout using ingredients that sound scientific and entirely legitimate, and are also  largely unfamiliar to
many consumers.

I’ve become accustomed myself to depending on the almost too-good-to-be-true effects that energy drinks promise. When I need an extra boost throughout my day, I turn to the liquid drug that is energy drinks.

While we all need an energy boost from time to time, an energy drink may not be the best way to attain it. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the agency responsible for ensuring the safety and effectiveness of all drugs, biologics, vaccines, and medical devices, doesn’t even define the term “energy drink.” The label and product of an energy drink itself is solely up to the manufacturers’ discretion.

Farrell also points out these drinks contain plenty of calories from sugar, which can add up quickly if you drink even just a few cans a day. Aside from the high caffeine and sugar content, some of the more common ingredients in energy drinks are taurine, ginseng, guarana, vitamins, and green tea.

“Most of the energy drinks contain ‘high-tech-sounding ingredients’ that are not controlled substances of no real substantial value and are actually quite potentially harmful when ingested in large amounts,” said Farrell.

Additionally, trying to figure out exactly how much of each stimulant is in an energy drink can be difficult, since the amount of the stimulants contained in the drink is not always listed on the label. Even when the information is provided, it is difficult for consumers to interpret what amounts are suitable for them since they are unfamiliar substances. Most energy drinks labels, like Monster, recommend the maximum amount of cans a person can consumer is three per day.

Energy drinks are so accessible and easy to drink in large quantities, it’s difficult to not become dependent on them when we need fuel for a workout or extra boosts of energy throughout the day.  Instead, try to make water your first choice beverage for seeking natural energy. When you’re dehydrated, your body becomes sluggish and tends to drag you down. Drinking plenty of water will help keep you alert, focused and able to move easily.

The best natural energy comes from getting enough rest, being active, eating well, and drinking plenty of water. Drinking plenty of water also has other benefits, including the fact it is naturally calorie-free and generally cheaper than most drinks. Filling up a reusable water bottle or getting a water filter will also cut your costs. Drinking more water will increase your energy level without crashing later. With all of these resources at hand, who needs energy drinks?