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Don't drink that crap anymore!

2023-03-28
Don't drink that crap anymore!

You get up in the morning after a sleepless night. Almost until dawn, you've been grinding exp in the video game or cramming for exams. Your eyelids are heavy and your brain is out of connection. Like a zombie, you wander around your flat, looking for a way out of this torment. You reach for a colourful can of sweet drink. You quickly regain your energy, rub your eyes and read the composition of the energy drink you have just consumed. “I will never drink that crap again!” – you say horrified. What to drink instead of energy drinks to stimulate your body and mind effectively, without completely ruining your precious health?

Summary:

  1. Five teaspoons of sugar, caffeine and a pile of chemicals
  2. Side effects of energy drinks
  3. A healthy energy drink? Does such a thing ever exist?
  4. What in yerba mate gives you energy?
  5. Two ways to stimulate. What will you choose?

Five teaspoons of sugar, caffeine and a pile of chemicals

Energy drinks are very popular. We can buy them in almost every grocery shop. They are tempting with their taste and relative low price. Their producers put a lot of effort and money into advertising, and the colourful packaging simply catches the eye. They improve reaction speed and concentration and reduce the feeling of fatigue. They are aimed at physical and mental workers – people who need to be in a state of full physical and mental readiness for long periods of time. They are most often used by drivers, people working at night, or students when studying for exams. Increasingly, "energy drinks for gamers" are being promoted – energizers aimed at e-sportsmen or streamers who spend many hours in the virtual world. Due to their high prevalence, it is not only adults who reach for them, but also teenagers and even schoolchildren. According to research, 50% of energy drink consumers are under the age of 25. An energy drink is a quick energy boost – it is easy to buy, quick to drink and tasty. What is the most important – it has an almost immediate effect. The question is: are energy drinks healthy? When you reach for a can of energizer while shopping, have you ever read the label carefully and thought about what you are going to drink? How will drinking these types of drinks affect your health?

Are energy drinks healthy?

We checked the labels of some of the most popular energy drinks and their compositions literally horrified us. The main ingredient is of course caffeine, which is responsible for the stimulating effect. Drinking 250ml of an energizer provides the body with an average of 83mg of caffeine. Often the composition of the drink is enriched with guarana, which additionally increases the caffeine content. Energy drinks usually contain taurine, which lowers blood pressure and has a calming and stress-relieving effect. B vitamins also often appear in the composition of energy drinks. Sounds cool? Let's see further... Carbohydrates, preservatives, synthetic colours. Plus a ton of sugar. The average 250ml can of energy drink contains 5 teaspoons of sugar. In addition to pure sugar, the ingredients often include fructose or glucose syrup. In “light” versions, sugar is replaced by substitutes that are not at all healthier. This is usually aspartame or acesulfame potassium – chemical compounds around which some controversy has arisen regarding their harm to health. Imagine drinking 1-3 cups of tea sweetened with five teaspoons of sugar every day. Do you realise how much this would affect your body?

Side effects of energy drinks

As we have already mentioned, an energy drink is a quick energy boost. You drink it and almost immediately feel its effect. The effect wears off just as quickly, so you reach for another can. You have a night shift coming up, you're cramming for an exam or you're going to play video games all night? Then you'll probably drink 3-4 energy drinks to stay awake. A dose of 500mg of caffeine (about 5-6 of 250ml cans) can cause intoxication, resulting in stomach problems, headaches, hyperactivity, heart palpitations, insomnia and even anxiety and hallucinations. Regular intake of “artificial energy” reduces sleep duration, disrupts the body's functions and leads to fatigue and weakness. And yet, energy drinks are supposed to eliminate fatigue! What’s more, energy drinks contain a large number of calories, which in the long term can contribute to obesity and diabetes. The sugar contained in such drinks also contributes to obesity and diabetes and is bad for teeth, being a breeding ground for tooth decay. The acids contained in energy drinks are bad for tooth enamel. Just think about it. Do you really want to drink sweetened, chemical-laden energy drinks at the expense of your health?

Yerba mate vs. energy drink

A healthy energy drink? Does such a thing ever exist?

Now you're probably asking: "If energy drinks are the worst crap, what should I drink instead?". Is there such a thing as a "natural energizer"? Absolutely! It's called yerba mate! It's an infusion made from the dried and crushed leaves and twigs of Ilex paraguariensis – a plant that is found in South America, across four neighbouring countries: Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. Centuries ago, the properties of the plant were discovered by the indigenous inhabitants of these areas, the Guarani Indians, who noticed that by chewing the raw leaves of the plant, they had more energy, their concentration improved and they felt less hungry. This action greatly helped the Indians during long hunts or exhausting journeys. Later, the indigenous people of South America began to make an infusion from the leaves of Ilex paraguariensis, which today, under the name yerba mate, is slowly gaining popularity. That’s true, yerba mate is intense and usually quite bitter in taste. If you are used to sugar in energy drinks, the first sips of mate tea may seem quite unpleasant, but it is a matter of getting used to it. The taste of yerba mate can also be improved in many ways, as we have written about more than once on our blog.

What in yerba mate gives you energy?

Yerba mate is a natural energy drink with caffeine as its main stimulating ingredient. It is difficult to determine the exact amount of caffeine in the brew, as it depends on many factors: the type of yerba mate, the amount of dried product used, the temperature of the water and the brewing time. It is assumed that a litre of brew on average contains around 360mg of caffeine. A 250ml serving therefore contains about 90mg of caffeine – similar to one can of energy drink. In addition to caffeine, there are two substances in yerba mate that have a stimulating effect – theophylline and theobromine. They dilate the blood vessels, which prevents sudden spikes in blood pressure. Yerba mate has a gradual and mild effect, and a single serving can be poured several times (each successive serving contains slightly less caffeine). The stimulating effect lasts much longer and, when it wears off, you don't feel a sudden "slide" of energy. Ilex paraguariensis is also a source of antioxidants, which fight harmful free radicals, as well as many vitamins (A, B, C and E) and minerals (such as zinc, silicon, magnesium, potassium, calcium and phosphorus). In addition to its stimulating effect, it supports the digestive system, increases the body's immunity and cleanses it of toxins, improves mental well-being and regulates blood pressure. Drinking yerba mate regularly can aid weight loss if you combine it with the right diet and exercise. Best of all, all the goodness that yerba mate provides is all-natural. There is not an ounce of artificiality!

Two ways to boost. What will you choose?

Now think again. Imagine how much damage has been done to your body by the energy drinks you have been drinking up to now. It's not too late to fix it, you just need to change your habits. Are you afraid that yerba mate will be too weak? What can some Indian herb do? Believe it, it can do a lot. But if you are still not convinced by its power, you can choose a stronger yerba mate with added guarana. Do you have long hours of studying ahead of you, or are you looking for a natural energy drink for gamers? Try the Más IQ version with ginseng and ginkgo biloba, which will further stimulate your grey cells. So, what do you choose, an artificial energy drink with tons of sugar and all the periodic table in its composition or yerba mate – an all-natural energy drink? Which is the healthiest energy drink? We think we don’t need to answer this question anymore, because the answer is obvious. Don't buy any more energy drinks, choose yerba mate and take care of your health!


Source of information:

  1. Wikipedia: Energy drink, Mate, Caffeine.
  2. M. Cichocki, Energy drinks and their contribution to current health concerns for children and adolescents, Przegląd Lekarski, 2012.
  3. S. M. Seifert et al, Health Effects of Energy Drinks on Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults, Pediatrics, 2011.
  4. A. Gawron-Gzella, J. Chanaj-Kaczmarek, J. Cielecka-Piontek, Yerba Mate – A Long but Current History, Nutrients, 2021.
  5. C. I. Heck, E. G. De Mejia, Yerba Mate Tea (Ilex paraguariensis): A Comprehensive Review on Chemistry, Health Implications, and Technological Considerations, Journal of Food Science, 2007.

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