In today’s busy world, caffeine is everywhere! It’s in our coffee, it’s in our tea and supplements, and it’s also in our energy drinks. Energy drinks have become very popular over the years. If you go to the gas station, there will probably be around two or three entire fridges filled with energy drinks. While energy drinks do give us a boost, they can have negative side effects as well. Caffeine is considered a drug, so there is a risk of addiction. You may hear people say, “Oh, I’m definitely addicted to caffeine”, or “I have caffeine flowing through my veins”. In this blog post, we will discuss the pros and cons of caffeine usage and how to spot a potential addiction.
Let’s say you wake up after a great sleep, what’s the first thing you will tend to do: make a pot of coffee. Drinking caffeine has its benefits. Your mood and overall attitude can improve, you will notice a difference in workout performance, some drinks are zero calories and sugar, and you will of course get an energy boost. Have you ever noticed that after an energy drink or a cup of coffee, you instantly feel a slight positive sensation? That is the caffeine going to work.
Caffeine increases dopamine, that feel-good sensation in your brain. It’s almost as if caffeine will naturally and instantly make you feel better. Your workouts will also be better. Since caffeine gives you an energy boost, many workout supplements contain caffeine. This will allow you to go harder and longer in the gym. If you do decide to grab an energy drink during the day or before a workout, there are many sugar-free and no-calorie options to choose from. I personally love ZOA brand drinks. This energy drink was created by Dwayne Johnson, otherwise known as the Rock. This drink comes in a standard 16 oz. can and contains 160mg of natural caffeine. That’s the same as about two cups of coffee. The drink contains only 15 calories and zero grams of sugar. They also include several key ingredients including BCAA’s and essential vitamins to help your body recover and feel refreshed.
A few of the cons to caffeine intake and energy drink usage include addiction, health issues, weight gain, and increased sugar intake. The top two selling energy drinks on the market right now are Red Bull and Monster. If you grab a can of these drinks, you will see that there is a ton of sugar in them. One 16 oz. can of Monster has over 50 grams of sugar! All this sugar is not only bad for your teeth, but it’s also bad for your waist. When consumed in high amounts, excess sugar will turn to fat because your muscles cannot store it. Too much caffeine can also lead to an addiction. I personally am addicted to caffeine. I used to never drink caffeine, but back in 2017 I had a BANG energy drink and I became hooked. I felt this sensation, and it was almost like a high, that I wanted to keep chasing. Fast forward to 2021 I was consuming anywhere from 400 to 700mg of caffeine per day. After a week of withdrawal hell, I was able to get my dosage down under 300 mg.
Caffeine addiction can cause serious problems both short and long-term. Short-term effects include all the withdrawal symptoms you would encounter with any other type of drug. This includes fatigue, low energy, a bad mood, and flu-like symptoms. These can last anywhere from 2-9 days. As for me, I experienced all of these and it was literally the worst week of my life. A few long-term side effects include anxiety, a rapid heart rate, and low blood pressure. Besides never doing drugs, you also never want to MIX drugs. Some people will mix alcohol with their favorite energy drink. I’ll admit, I’ve done it and it was one of the worst decisions I have made. Alcohol is a depressant while caffeine is a stimulant. If you mix the two, the caffeine can mask the alcohol allowing you to drink more and not even know it. This can lead to a whole lot of
In conclusion, if you decide to drink energy drinks or any other forms of caffeine, just be smart and read the label on the back of the can. Ask your doctor about how much caffeine you should be taking per day and never mix the drinks with alcohol. Energy drinks, in moderation, can provide great benefits, just be aware that these negative side effects can happen!