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Energy Drinks (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly)

The explosion of energy drinks is a billion dollar industry. The more we understand what it is that we put in our bodies the better we are to make the right decisions on which product is right for you.

First you need to know the ingredients. Most Companies such as Red Bull, Rockstar and Monster use either Sucrose Glucose, High Fructose Corn Syrup, or Sucralose.

Sucrose is an easily assimilated macronutrient that provides a quick source of energy to the body, provoking a rapid rise in blood glucose upon ingestion. However, pure sucrose is not normally part of a human diet balanced for good nutrition, although it may be included sparingly to make certain foods more palatable.

Overconsumption of sucrose has been linked with some adverse health effects. The most common is dental caries or tooth decay, in which oral bacteria convert sugars (including sucrose) from food into acids that attack tooth enamel. Sucrose, as a pure carbohydrate, has an energy content of 3.94 kilocalories per gram (or 17 kilojoules per gram). When a large amount of foods that contain a high percentage of sucrose is consumed, beneficial nutrients can be displaced from the diet, which can contribute to an increased risk for chronic disease. It has been suggested that sucrose-containing drinks may be linked to the development of obesity and insulin resistance.[1] However, most soft drinks in the USA are now made with high-fructose corn syrup, not sucrose.

The rapidity with which sucrose raises blood glucose can cause problems for people suffering from defects in glucose metabolism, such as persons with hypoglycemia or diabetes mellitus. Sucrose can contribute to development of the metabolic syndrome.[2] In an experiment with rats that were fed a diet one-third of which was sucrose, the sucrose first elevated blood levels of triglycerides, which induced visceral fat and ultimately resulted in insulin resistance.[3] Another study found that rats fed sucrose-rich diets developed high triglycerides, hyperglycemia, and insulin resistance.[4]

1. ^ Ten, S. & Maclaren, N. (2004). Insulin resistance syndrome in children. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Jun;89(6):2526-39.

2. ^ Aguilera, A.A., et al. (2004). Effects of fish oil on hypertension, plasma lipids, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha in rats with sucrose-induced metabolic syndrome.. J Nutr Biochem. 2004 Jun;15(6):350-7.

3. ^ Satoshi Fukuchi (2004). "Role of Fatty Acid Composition in the Development of Metabolic Disorders in Sucrose-Induced Obese Rats". Experimental Biology and Medicine 229 (6): 486-493. PMID 15169967.

4. ^ Lombardo, Y.B., et al. (1996). Long-term administration of a sucrose-rich diet to normal rats: relationship between metabolic and hormonal profiles and morphological changes in the endocrine pancreas. Metabolism. 1996 Dec;45(12):1527-32.

Other alternatives would be to choose a product that has F.O.S (Fructooligasaccharide).

FOS has been a popular dietary supplement in Japan for many years, even before 1990, when the Japanese government installed a "Functionalized Food Study Committee" of 22 experts to start regulate "special nutrition foods or functional foods" which contained the categories of fortified foods (e.g., vitamin-fortified wheat flour), [2]and is now becoming increasingly popular in Western cultures for its prebiotic effects. FOS serves as a substrate for microflora in the large intestine, increasing the overall gastrointestinal tract (GI Tract) health. It has also been touted as a supplement for preventing yeast infections.

FOS can be considered a small dietary fiber with (like all fibres) low caloric value. The fermentation of FOS results in the production of gasses and acids. The latter provide some energy to the body.

Choosing the right energy drink for you could be the difference in feeling lousy as your sugar rush goes down and heath the long side affects or making a better choice by having an all natural alternative that will provide you with longer energy and lower your caloric intake.

Hope this information helps.

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