The problem with energy drinks and soft drinks

Generally speaking, energy drinks and soft drinks offer no nutritional benefits but come with a truckload of sugar. In the case of energy drinks, there is also the addition of caffeine. While energy drinks may seem appealing when you need a quick hit of energy, they won’t leave you feeling good for long!

The high sugar content of both drinks will spike your blood sugar, providing short-term energy but as this spike comes crashing down, so will your energy levels. Unfortunately, these drinks also don’t leave you feeling satiated which means you are more likely to overconsume calories from food and drink, leading to weight gain. Not only do they contribute to weight gain and energy crashes but also do damage to your teeth. Not convinced yet? Research is also showing strong links between sugar-sweetened beverages (such as energy drinks and soft drinks) and abdominal weight gain. This is generally the last place anyone wants to gain body fat!

While both sugar-filled beverages aren’t a great idea to consume on a regular basis, energy drinks pose extra health risks. Energy drinks often have a higher caffeine content than coffee. Too much caffeine can result in anxiety, insomnia, heart problems (like an irregular heartbeat) and elevated blood pressure. The health risks of energy drinks are heightened when they are mixed with alcohol. The sugar and caffeine content can mask the inebriating effects of the alcohol, leading to higher alcohol consumption. This can make dehydration and alcohol poisoning more likely.

Unfortunately, energy drinks are often aggressively marketed towards adolescents. Not only does this set teens up for poor diets early on but the negative effects of the energy drinks may be even more pronounced in adolescents, possibly due to their smaller relative body size.

If you are going to consume soft drinks or energy drinks, consider a sugar-free version and in the latter, look for less than 200mg caffeine. Remember, if you are feeling like you need energy drinks just to get through the day, you are better off finding the root cause of your fatigue, rather than masking it with caffeine and sugar!


About the author

Cheyenne Holman

Cheyenne Holman

Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD)
Accredited Sports Dietitian
Certified Personal Trainer
Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teacher