Energy drinks do more harm than good to the body

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Energy drinks do more harm than good to the body

The caffeine and other ingredients in these drinks can lead to various health issues in the long term

New Delhi, 16 November 2017: Consumption of energy drinks can cause serious health risks including risk-seeking behavior, mental health problems, increased blood pressure, obesity, and kidney damage, warns a recent study. Another worrying phenomenon is that of mixing energy drinks with alcohol. The ingredients in most energy drinks include water, sugar, caffeine, certain vitamins, minerals and non-nutritive stimulants such as guarana, taurine, and ginseng.

Certain energy drinks have about 100mg caffeine per fluid ounce which is eight times more than regular coffee, which has 12mg per fluid ounce of caffeine. While the daily recommended caffeine intake for adults is 400mg, there is not enough research on the tolerable levels for children and adolescents. All the above-mentioned health risks are due to the high sugar and caffeine levels in these energy drinks.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, National President Indian Medical Association (IMA) and President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Dr RN Tandon – Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement, said, “Energy drinks can cause more harm than good. The large amounts of caffeine in them can lead to serious heart rhythm, blood flow, and blood pressure problems in the young and old alike. Taurine, one of the ingredients in these drinks, is a caffeine adjuvant, meaning that it aids the effects of caffeine. Apart from this, those who mix energy drinks with alcohol end up consuming more alcohol than if they were drinking alcohol alone. Energy drinks are thought to mask the signs of alcohol inebriation, thus making a person consume more and increasing the likelihood of dehydration and alcohol poisoning.”

Energy drinks can be potentially dangerous for certain groups including those under 18 years of age, pregnant women, those with caffeine sensitivity, and people on certain medications such as Adder all, which is prescribed for ADHD.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, said, “It is also often seen that energy drinks are marketed and sold in stores under the same category as sports drinks. However, as per studies, they do not help in enhancing or promoting athletic ability in any way. It is important to remember that our body can obtain energy from other sources as well and that we do not need to depend on these energy drinks or caffeine for the same. Understanding this can help avert many complications in the longer term.”

Here are few food items that can help you keep alert and energized through the day, albeit naturally.

  • Green tea It contains vitamins A, B, C and E, and improves circulation and metabolism. It also contains L-theanine which is an antioxidant found only in tea.
  • Wheatgrass It is rich in vitamins A, C, E, beta-carotene, amino acids, and calcium. The B vitamins, especially B12, iron and magnesium in wheatgrass do wonders in increasing energy levels.
  • Banana They can help in fighting fatigue due to the electrolytes present in them including potassium, magnesium, sodium, calcium, and phosphorus.
  • Water A person experiences decrease in energy levels when the water content in their body goes down. Make sure to consume enough water to fight away fatigue.
  • Nuts These are rich in protein, which stabilizes blood sugar levels. Nuts like walnuts and almonds are high in magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids, which help in boosting energy levels.

Eating too fast may increase obesity

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People who eat slowly are less likely to become obese or develop metabolic syndrome according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association s Scientific Sessions 2017. The study participants were grouped according to their speed of eating food into slow normal or fast. After five years it was found Fast eaters were more likely 11.6 to have developed metabolic syndrome than normal eaters 6.5 or slow eaters 2.3 . Faster eating speed was associated with more weight gain higher blood glucose and larger waistline. Metabolic syndrome occurs when someone has any of three risk factors that include abdominal obesity high fasting blood sugar high blood pressure high triglycerides and or low HDL cholesterol. According to the researchers eating fast causes bigger glucose fluctuations which can lead to insulin resistance. People who eat too fast without chewing their food tend to overeat as they tend not to feel full. Our shastras including Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Bhagwad Gita and the various Upanishads also tell us You are what you eat . Mealtime practices influence health. It is important to be aware of the food we are eating. This is called mindful eating which means being aware of the hunger and satiety signals. It also means using all the five senses while eating colors eye smells nose flavors taste textures touch and sound while chewing ear of the food. In Chapter 6 Shloka 17 of the Bhagwad Gita Krishna says to Arjuna Yukaharaviharasya yuktachestasya karmasu. Yuktasvapnavabodhasya yoga bhavati duhkhaha . It means the one whose diet and movements are balanced whose actions are proper whose hours of sleeping and waking up are regular and who follows the path of meditation is the destroyer of pain or unhappiness. With mindful eating you are more aware of hunger and satiety cues so you eat less. Chewing food well improves digestion and more nutrients are absorbed as well. Chewing food well also helps to eat less. You will enjoy every bite and relish the flavors of food. Source AHA News Release November 13 2017