Energy drinks like Red Bull and Monster might be a gateway beverage to unhealthy behavior, a recent study finds. The study found that musicians (professional and amateur) who drank energy drinks were more likely to binge drink (alcohol), have social problems related to drinking, and misuse prescription drugs (no association to illegal drugs).
The thing to remember about this type of research is that it only shows an association. It doesn’t mean that if you are a musician and have these drinks that you are going to start having whiskey with breakfast.
Regardless…they’re not a healthy drink. An 8 oz. can of Red Bull has 110 calories, 200 mg of sodium (almost 10 percent of what you need in a day), and 27 grams of sugar (about seven sugar packets), and zero vitamins or minerals. It’s basically caffeine + sugar + salt. For a healthier boost to your energy, give these more natural ideas a try:
- Eat well and drink water. Make no mistake, an energy drink does not equal breakfast. Have three solid, healthy meals and maybe one or two snacks. You should never feel overly full after meals, which can decrease energy. And keep hydrated! Dehydration is sometimes tough to detect but can cause headaches, fatigue, and make you feel like Grouchy from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
- Exercise and sleep. If you do it right, post-workout you’ll get an exercise “high” from the endorphins and sleep like a baby at night. Aim for about eight hours of uninterrupted slumber.
- Naturally caffeinated drinks. If you really love a bit of caffeine, go for natural, healthier options. Coffee may also offer you some health benefits such as a lower chance of heart disease, gout, diabetes and cancer. Tea has been associated with numerous benefits: preserving cognitive abilities in old age, healthy skin, and may give you a boost in your workout and weight loss efforts. It’s also chock full of antioxidants, which may help prevent against cancer.