Reported by Jes Hovanes
Scroll over the drinks in the above photo to find out more about their health risks and benefits.
According to recent research athletes who use energy drinks to increase performance can suffer from insomnia and nervousness in the hours following competition.
An article published in ScienceDaily, an American news website, said that 50 per cent of athletes use energy drinks during training and competition.
Mike Evans, coach of the Langara Falcons women’s basketball team said, “I’m dead set against Red Bull, I’ve had players that use it and they get so hyped up that they can’t even think.” Evans said players who consume energy drinks before a game will initially “burn real fast” and then burn out and loose energy half way through the game.
What is in these things?
Most energy drinks contain sugar, carbohydrates, caffeine, taurine and B vitamins with little difference between brands. According to the article in ScienceDaily, the main energy drink companies claim that these ingredients provide an energy boost to the consumer.
Women’s basketball player Sharece Thoutenhoofd said she doesn’t drink energy drinks because of the sugar. “I’ve heard that water is better than anything.”
Patricia Chuey, senior nutrition consultant to SportMedBC, says these effects are not beneficial in the long run and she does not recommend them to anyone at anytime.
“They are lousy nutritionally and although may provide a very short-term buzz or energy boost, they do not provide hydration or any meaningful nutrients,” Chuey said.
Drink water, stay hydrated
Both Chuey and Evans said that for athletes, staying hydrated is important and the best way to stay hydrated is by drinking water.
Many Langara athletes said they feel jittery when they drink energy drinks, which is consistent with the study. Langara student Peter Li, an amateur motorcycle racer, said that energy drinks could make his sport more dangerous because so much focus is needed to stay safe.
“Before a race I do not drink [energy drinks] because it makes you all jittery and you can’t really focus as well,” he said. “We’re not even supposed to drink coffee on the day of the race.”
We talk to a registered holistic nutritionist about the pros and cons of consuming energy drinks as well as some possible alternatives to keep students fueled during late-night study sessions.