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Energy Drinks and the Danger They Pose To Office Workers

06 December 2022

You may be surprised to learn that the energy drink market is now worth a staggering $46 billion. Just a decade ago, these drinks were nowhere near as popular as they are today. And according to recent statistics, this trend is only set to continue, particularly in male-dominated industries such as construction and manufacturing.

Energy drinks often contain high levels of caffeine, stimulants, and sugar, which can lead to increased heart rate and blood pressure and are also known to cause dehydration and headaches.

In this article, we will look at the dangers of energy drinks and why office workers should be extra cautious when consuming them. We'll explore the ingredients in these beverages and their potential long-term effects on your health. We'll also look at some healthier alternatives so you can keep your energy levels high without risking your health. So read on to find out more!



A Look at the Main Ingredients of Energy Drinks and Their Effect on our Health

Caffeine is often singled out as the main ingredient in energy drinks that can be harmful to humans, but many other chemicals are present in these drinks that can be just as dangerous. Let's take a closer look at them.

Sugar

Most energy drinks on the market today pack a severe sugar punch. A typical energy drink can contain up to 40 grams of sugar, equivalent to 10 teaspoons. This is well above the recommended daily dose of sugar set by the American Heart Association.

While a bit of sugar can provide a quick boost of energy, the effects of sugar are often short-lived and can lead to a crash later on. This can lead to feelings of jitteriness and anxiety. In addition, sugar can also cause dehydration and gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea and bloating. And if you're regularly consuming energy drinks, the high sugar content can lead to weight gain and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems.

B-Vitamins

B vitamins are a group of water-soluble vitamins that are involved in many biochemical reactions in the body and play a role in energy metabolism. B vitamins are often added to energy drinks as they are believed to help break down the added sugar to energy.

However, taking large doses of B vitamins can lead to side effects like skin rashes and stomach upset. Indigestion, nausea, or mild diarrhea can also occur. In extreme cases, high doses of B vitamins can accumulate in the liver and become toxic.

Ginseng

Ginseng is thought to improve mental function and physical performance while reducing stress. Studies on ginseng have yielded mixed results, with some studies showing benefits and others showing no effect. However, the amounts of ginseng in energy drinks are far below those expected to deliver therapeutic benefits or cause adverse events.

Ginseng is generally considered safe; however, it has been shown to affect blood sugar and blood pressure and has been reported to cause nervousness and insomnia. Long-term use or high doses of ginseng may lead to headaches and stomach upset, among other symptoms.

Guarana

Guarana is a plant native to the Amazon forest that contains high levels of caffeine. In addition to caffeine, guarana also contains the stimulants theobromine and theophylline. Guarana is thought to provide longer-lasting energy than caffeine alone, as it takes longer for the body to break down guarana's active compounds. And since it contains Caffeine, it means that guarana can have similar side effects to what you would expect from caffeine, including headaches, difficulty sleeping, jitteriness, anxiety, and heart palpitations.

Taurine

Taurine is an amino acid that plays a role in various bodily functions, including heart and nervous system functions. It's also thought to improve mental function and physical performance.

Energy drinks typically contain 1-3 grams of taurine per liter serving. It's considered safe in small doses, but there's little research on its long-term supplemental effects. Nonetheless, the hazards were deemed serious enough for some countries to outright ban items containing the chemical.

L-Carnitine

L-carnitine is an amino acid that plays a role in the metabolism of fats and has been touted as a way to improve physical performance, increase energy levels and exercise endurance; however, there is limited scientific evidence to support this claim. Also, the amount of carnitine in energy drinks is generally not high enough to have any significant effects.

Side effects of too much carnitine can include nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and a "fishy" body odor.

Caffeine

Caffeine is the most common ingredient in energy drinks and improves alertness, mood, focus, and cognitive function. The average energy drink contains about 160 mg of caffeine, equivalent to about 2 cups of coffee. This is within the FDA recommendation of 400mg per day. However, taking many energy drinks can surpass this limit.

Overuse of Caffeine can have side effects, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia, jitters, digestive issues, dehydration, and headaches. And because energy drinks are often consumed in large quantities, these side effects can be magnified.

Creatine

This can be found in some energy drinks, and long-term use can clog your kidneys.

Note: If you're watching your sugar intake, you may be tempted to reach for a "no sugar" or "no calories" drink. But before you do, take a closer look at the label. Some of these drinks can actually be high in sodium or salt. And too much sodium can be problematic for people with high blood pressure, kidney disease, and other conditions.



What Healthier Alternatives Do You Have?

Water is the obvious choice. It's calorie-free and sugar-free, and it's essential for keeping your body hydrated. However, if you're looking for something with a little more flavor, there are plenty of healthy options out there. For example

1. Coconut water. It's packed with electrolytes and minerals, making it an ideal choice for replenishing fluids at the office. Coconut water is also low in calories, sugars, and fat, making it a more waistline-friendly option than most energy drinks. In addition, coconut water contains enzymes that can help to boost metabolism and promote digestion.

2. Green tea is another terrific option. It contains caffeine, but in smaller amounts than coffee, and it also contains powerful antioxidants linked to lower the risk of cancer and heart disease. Green Tea has been shown to boost metabolism and increase fat burning.

3. Another option is to make your own homemade energy drink by blending together fruits and vegetables like bananas, carrots, and spinach. Fruit juice is a good alternative to energy drinks for those looking for a natural source of sugar. While fruit juice contains calories and sugar, it also contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can benefit health.

4. Finally, try eating some dark chocolate if you need an energy boost without the caffeine jitters. Dark chocolate contains small amounts of caffeine and mood-boosting compounds like magnesium.


What Can Your Workplace Do To Replace Energy Drinks and Keep Workers Active?

Workplaces can do a few things to help employees stay energized throughout the day without relying on energy drinks.



Implement an Energy Drink Ban

This may seem like a drastic measure, but it will definitely get rid of energy drinks in the workplace. If your company has a no-tolerance policy for energy drinks, workers will be less likely to bring them in or consume them while on the job.



Promote Healthy Hydration Habits

This means ensuring employees have easy access to water throughout the day and encouraging them to drink it regularly. Additionally, you can provide employees with water bottles or mugs to make it easy for them to stay hydrated while at work. You can also spice up things by providing fruit or vegetable-infused water for those who may find water too bland for their liking.



Regular Breaks

Employers can encourage their employees to get up and move around throughout the day to get some fresh air and get their blood flowing. This could involve encouraging them to walk or light jog during lunch breaks or setting up a designated area in the office where employees can take a quick break to do some stretching or light exercises. Walking around for even just a few minutes can help increase energy levels.



Install Standing Desks

Sitting for long periods can trigger a "foggy brain" and sluggish, tiring effect on the body, making it difficult to concentrate.

Standing desks allow workers to stand while they work, allowing them to move around and stay active throughout the day. Studies have shown that using a standing desk can help improve productivity and focus while reducing back pain, improving blood circulation, and boosting energy levels.

Other measures that the employer can take include :

Provide healthy snacks and beverages, such as fruits and vegetables, yogurt, whole grain bread, lean protein, and smart carbohydrates that will give them sustained energy throughout the day.

Offer yoga or meditation classes during lunchtime or after work hours.

Ensure the office is well-lit and comfortable so workers don't feel sluggish. Research has shown that natural light can help improve mood and increase energy levels.

Invest in some office fitness equipment that can be used for quick workouts, such as an under-desk treadmill, adjustable dumbbells, jump rope, or resistance bands.

By taking these steps, your workplace can help employees avoid the unhealthy habit of relying on energy drinks and instead adopt healthy habits that will lead to sustained energy throughout the day.

Conclusion

While energy drinks may offer a temporary boost of energy, they can also be harmful to our health when consumed in large quantities. So next time you're feeling sluggish in the middle of the day, try one of these healthy alternatives to energy drinks instead. Not only will they help keep you energized, but they won't have any negative effects on your health. And who knows? You may even find that you like some of them better than energy drinks!