energy drinkEnergy drinks and sports drinks are always associated with power and endurance. Sometimes, it’s difficult for a layman to understand what the difference between the two is or how they actually work. We are often tempted to use them, especially when we feel low on energy, as these drinks promise unrestrained energy in a can!

Need a pick-me-up? Gulp down an energy drink. The advertisements lure us: want to enhance your workout or stay up all night to study? Have an energy drink! They say. What are these ‘magic’ drinks about?

Energy drinks are non-alcoholic beverages containing energy-enhancing ingredients. Their primary ingredients are sugar and caffeine.

Health alert

If you consume energy drinks, you need to know that the level of caffeine found in most energy drinks is not suitable for children or anyone sensitive to caffeine. Using it before or during exercise may cause nervousness, light-headedness, and nausea. Caffeine is a diuretic and may be counterproductive for replacing fluids lost during exercise. Sudden cessation after regular use of energy drinks may cause caffeine withdrawal symptoms like headaches, mood swings, and lack of concentration. They shouldn’t be used by everyone.

Sports drinks, on the other hand, are formulated to replace fluids and electrolytes (minerals) lost through sweat and provide energy for muscles. They contain no stimulants, only carbohydrates and salts to replace whatever is lost through sweat. They may help delay fatigue and help post-exercise recovery.

The perfect sports drink

A sports drink should have six per cent carbohydrates in the form of glucose, sucrose, and fructose. It should have sodium. It shouldn’t be carbonated and should be free of caffeine.

Sports drinks containing only fructose should be avoided. It slows fluid absorption and causes abdominal cramps. Carbonation can also cause stomach discomfort, and should be avoided. Caffeine can cause dehydration so it should not be a component of a sports drink.

Energy drinks can be taken prior to physical activities but never during physical exercise, whereas sports drinks are designed to be taken during physical activity. Test a drink well before an important event because what someone may find beneficial can have disastrous side-effects on you, as each individual reacts differently.Sometimes, the safest option for good health is a healthy diet, plus plenty of water.

Email Manali at  [email protected]  to schedule a first free 30 minutes session to help you create balance in your lifestyle.

Manali is a Certified Lifestyle Coach with over 20 years of work experience and has helped many people establish the mind and body connection and balance in their lives.