Those colorful cans you see at the grocery store are definitely appealing. Some of them taste pretty good and, as their name says, they are supposed to boost your energy, help you concentrate, and even improve your athletic performance. What more could you want?
The problem, as we’ll see in a minute, is that most of the benefits advertised by these companies aren’t actually true. And even though energy drinks may help you focus temporarily, the risks far outweigh the potential benefits; so in terms of your health, it would be best to stay away from them.
Do energy drinks help you lose weight?
As you already read in the title of this article, the short answer is: no, energy drinks will not help you lose weight. Although the caffeine content may increase your metabolic rate temporarily, and although you may feel more active, there is no direct link between consuming energy drinks and losing weight.
One of the reasons some people believe these drinks will help them shed a few extra pounds is that, as their name says, they may give you more energy and, in turn, you may be more motivated to exercise, or have a more vigorous workout.
And although there is some truth to that, you have to look at the bigger picture: not only is the energy boost provided by these drinks temporary, but your body will quickly develop a tolerance as well. Which is why some people end up being addicted to them, and they won’t be able to function unless they consume several cans per day.
As for your metabolism, yes, you will notice an increase, but it will be mild, and short-lived as well (unless you drank these beverages throughout the day, which would be very dangerous). And caffeine, as we’ll see shortly, does have some nasty side effects.
And what about their massive sugar content? The average energy drink contains way too many simple carbs, and that’s definitely not going to help you lose weight — if anything, it’ll help you gain fat. You may think that “zero calorie” drinks won’t be much of a problem, but here is…
The problem with “zero calories”
First of all, calories per se aren’t necessarily bad. It is true that the more calories you eat, the more you’ll have to burn, but where do you get your calories from? Healthy, natural, nutritious meals that are full of vitamins and minerals? Or junk food?
You also need to realize that if a certain drink has zero calories, but tastes sweet, then it’s basically guaranteed that it has some kind of artificial sweeteners in it, like aspartame. These won’t help you lose weight and, unfortunately, they do come with potential side effects.
The problem with caffeine
Caffeine does, in theory, boost your energy and alertness, but it’s also a diuretic, which means it makes your body eliminate water. Less water can lead to dehydration, and dehydration almost always leads to tiredness and fatigue.
Then you need to consider all the negative side effects of caffeine, which include nervousness (especially if you suffer from an anxiety or panic disorder), insomnia, headaches, and addiction. If you want to lose weight or feel more active, then have a look at the following alternatives.
Alternative ways to have more energy
Green tea. Besides having anti-inflammatory properties, preventing many types of cancer, and promoting good oral health, it also contains a tiny amount of caffeine. So it’s kind of like an energy drink, but ten times healthier.
Water. Seriously. Drinking more water is essential for hydration, and it helps your body flush out toxins. Plus, it has zero calories (and zero artificial sweeteners). Just like dehydration causes fatigue, drinking an extra glass of water will help you have more energy.
Happiness. Many scientific studies have shown that there is a correlation between your mental health and your physical performance. It’s common sense, too: when you are depressed, or simply upset, you don’t feel like doing anything; you are lethargic.
Optimal sleep. I wish there was some secret, pill, or special hack that could allow you to instantly have more energy. But the truth is that we need to take care of the basics, and optimal sleep is one of them. Improve your sleep hygiene, and you’ll be more active throughout the day effortlessly.
Alternative ways to lose weight
More vegetables. They are extremely low in calories, high in water, and packed full of essential nutrients. For example, leafy greens are rich in magnesium and potassium — two minerals that help your muscles stretch properly as well as improve your overall health. To lose weight, add more vegetables to your meals.
Enjoyable workouts. We all know that exercise helps you lose weight, but if you hate it, you’re never going to do it. Weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint: think long term, and choose the kind of workout or sport that you enjoy so you’ll keep doing it for a long time.
Mindful eating. This means taking the time to appreciate the smell, the taste, the texture, and the colors of your food, as well as chewing it as slowly as possible. Most importantly, it means eating food without engaging in any other activity (such as watching TV or texting a friend). When practiced on a regular basis, mindful eating will help you eat less and eat healthier, and consequently lose weight.
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