Do energy drinks really give you more energy? And are they healthy?

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Story Updated: Mar 14, 2012

Expert QA

From the Editors of Completely You

Consider this: Energy is a sneaky way of saying “kilojoule,” and we all know how well a “kilojoule drink” would sell! Most so-called healthy energy and sports drinks are full of sugar and carbohydrates. In addition, many of these drinks contain caffeine, which may provide a fleeting boost but can cause jitters and an unpleasant energy crash later.

What’s more, sports drinks have proven to be more damaging to your teeth than soft drinks due to a combination of acids and sugar. As if that isn’t enough, these drinks can pack on extra kilos: Research has shown that when people wash down their food with a kilojoule-laden beverage, they don’t decrease the amount of food they eat, so they end up consuming extra kilojoules with their meal.

Instead of gulping a sugary energy drink when you’re flagging, try a healthy cup of green tea (rich in metabolism-boosting antioxidants) or low-fat milk (a wholesome blend of electrolytes, calcium, magnesium and vitamin D -- plus a nice balance of carbohydrates and protein for real, lasting energy). Also consider munching on nutrition-filled, fibre-rich foods such as nuts and dried fruit, which can provide a steady source of stamina.

The bottom line: The brief boost from an energy drink just isn’t worth the extra sugar and empty kilojoules.

Wendy Bazilian   is a registered dietitian and the author of The Superfoods Rx Diet. Her articles frequently appear in Oral Care and Health Daily (Australia & New Zealand).

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