Is the energy worth it???

If you have been watching the nationals on TV, you’ve heard Ryan Dungy say, “I’d like thank Rockstar Makita Suzuki….” And when Ryan Villopoto was riding for Mitch Payton, you would always hear, “You know…I just wanna thank Monster, Mitch, my mechanic….”  It’s always the same; thank the energy drink sponsor that is with the team.  The riders sound like robots, but they have to do it if they want to get paid.  They have to drink out of the bottle or can, but there is noooooo way that they are drinking those.  Their trainers would kill them.  Don’t get me wrong, I love energy drinks, I have tried almost everyone and enjoyed them, but they are not good in any way. 

In my high school class, there was a football player who would drink energy drinks before and after each practice and practice was every weekday.  On average, he would drink 10 a week.  And this is only Monday through Friday; just imagine how much he would drink on the weekend!  Now, at 20 years old, he has heart trouble with murmurs. 

Too much energy...The initial “buzz” is good, but this is from the massive amounts of sugar and caffeine.  In one Red Bull, the 8 oz can, there is 80 mg of caffeine.  This is about as much as a cup of coffee.  There is about 25 mg of caffeine in Coca-Cola, that’s three times as much caffeine.  This is way too much for one serving.  Caffeine is known to raise blood pressure and increase your heart rate.  If you are busting out motos, this is the opposite of what you want.  Even if you resting between your motos, the energy drink will increase your heart rate…and you’re not doing anything!  Not only this, but you become irritable and it becomes hard to sleep.  Lack of sleep can be one of the most detrimental things to your training.   

Another obvious ingredient is sugar.  This is not a bad thing.  But the amount per serving in each drink is bad.  The sugars in these are refined, which basically means they are just sweeteners.  They are empty and provide no nutritional benefit at all.  Your body must use calcium, sodium and magnesium to make use of the sugar.  The most important thing to take from this is the calcium…and what do you normally associate calcium with?  Bones.  Calcium is taken from your bones to help use the sugars.  Drink enough of the energy drinks and after a while, bone loss can occur. 

Taurine is another ingredient.  It is a natural amino acid found in meat, fish and breast milk.  It has been said that it can improve athletic performance, a big reason why energy drinks market them to active people trying to get an “edge” on the competition.  It can be taken as a supplement and is recommended for athletes; however, there are no concrete findings to show when your body has more than 3000 mg (the recommendation per day). 

One of most important reasons I stopped drinking them while riding is that the energy drinks dehydrate you.  With a lack of sleep and being dehydrated, energy drinks spell disaster.  You have to remember that they are like candy, and just like candy, you should only treat yourself every once in a while.  In my opinion, once a week is too much.  With the cons outweighing the pros, it’s safe to say that energy drinks should be kept as sponsors, not part of a steady diet.

Posted on Jul 28 2009, under Nutrition | No Comments »

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