Can Energy Drinks Improve Sports Performance?

Athletes are always trying to find ways to improve their game. One way is by using supplements, such as energy drinks.

Although widely consumed and sold over the counter, energy drinks have not been proven to improve sports performance. In fact, many experts believe that they may be harmful to certain individuals and can cause various adverse side effects. Nevertheless, it’s worth exploring what’s in a single can or bottle so that athletes will find awareness on what exactly an energy drink can do for their performance.

Core Sports Nutrition

Nutrition is an essential aspect of sporting performance. Athletes need their nutrients (both macro and micro) as well fluids in the right amounts for their growth, development, and performance. This is why it is important to know what to consume before and after playing sports, and especially what to drink during a game.

An athlete’s ideal diet should consist of the following nutrients:

  • Carbohydrates: 45% to 65%
  • Protein: 10% to 30%
  • Fat: 25% to 35%
  • Fluids: before, during, and after a game

Nutrition Found in Energy Drinks

Anyone who’s serious about their sporting performance should know whether energy drinks are part of core sports nutrition. There are countless ads and articles making claims on how an energy drink is supposed to help athletes perform better during a game.

A typical energy drink may contain any of the following ingredients:

  • Carbonated water:4 to 12 fluid ounces
  • Sugar: around 40 grams of sucrose and/or glucose
  • Caffeine: about 160 mg or more
  • Artificial sweetener: aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, cyclamate, or sugar alcohols
  • Herbs and substances: taurine, L-carnitine, L-tartrate, ginseng root, or guarana seed extract

Most of the nutritional qualities in energy drinks come from the final category. Taurine, for example, is associated with a number of benefits, such as improving the function of your eyes and boosting your immune system. In addition, ginseng has limited evidence suggesting it may improve brain function and increase energy.

The other categories are ones you’ll definitely want to take in moderation, as many of them come with adverse side effects. Too much sugar is linked with obesity and heart disease, while some artificial sweeteners such as aspartame are linked to chronic illnesses.

Of course, it is important to remember that studies are largely limited on some of these things (such as aspartame) and some experts have cause to disagree. It’s best to do your research and hear from multiple perspectives, as well as pay attention to new studies as they come out.

Energy From Energy Drinks

An athlete’s energy comes mostly from the main ingredients of energy drinks: caffeine and taurine. These two power substances are responsible for enhancing the quality of sporting performance among athletes.

Caffeine, which is usually found in coffee, stimulates the central nervous system to improve mental acuity, thus increasing focus and concentration. Taurine is associated with benefits such as an improved metabolism, which increases energy. Paired together, caffeine and taurine can provide a temporary boost to an athlete’s performance. Consumed in large amounts, though, coffee and taurine may be harmful to cardiovascular health and renal function, respectively.

How To Make Energy Drinks Work for You

Energy drinks are a booming industry. Many consumers believe that they can increase athletic performance throughout a game, but that is not always true. In order to make energy drinks truly improve alertness and productivity, it's important to understand how the body processes them and to only consume them in small amounts.

Ideally, if you intend to drink energy drinks, you’ll want to consume them in a way that does not exceed the recommended guidelines. For example, the FDA recommends that for a 2000-calorie diet, you should only have up to 50 grams of added sugar. Exceeding this amount may have the opposite effect from what you were intending -- rather than having energy, you’ll feel more tired, and you may gain weight in the process.

Discover the Benefits of Core Sports Nutrition

Discover the benefits of proper core sports nutrition in Strike Force Energy by visiting our website or more information on our products!

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