artificial caffeine, HFCS (ref:
Double Danger of HFCS), Taurine and of course, to somehow
validate everything, synthetically produced vitamins. This
cocktail of chemicals will do more harm than good. It
More and more people that consume the traditional energy
drink regularly or even daily have already or are destined
to eventually suffer from stomach, kidney, liver or heart
problems. Not to mention the effects these chemical
cocktails can have on one's teeth (premature enamel
degradation) or skin (dehydration related blotching).
An entire new generation is coming into adulthood without
their parents' coffee routine, but with a morning, afternoon
or evening energy drink. Sometimes all three. Many spend
hours online gaming, instead of exercising, which
accentuates the problem with energy drinks, introducing type
2 diabetes and other sedentary diseases.
Why should we be concerned about this new variety of mental
stimulant? A cup or two of coffee every day has never caused
serious health effects. The big difference relates to where
the buzz comes from: natural coffee beans vs. laboratory
produced synthetic caffeine.
Just like with any other product found in nature, the
caffeine in the coffee beans comes with many by-products
which are not easily separated from the pure caffeine
elements. natural caffeine comes with fibers and other
organic substances which reduce the absorption of the
caffeine into the bloodstream.
In most energy drinks, the caffeine is synthetically
produced in a factory. This synthetic caffeine has one
advantage over natural caffeine: it is extremely potent.
All of the natural byproducts that come with natural caffeine
from coffee beans or Guarana are not present with laboratory
caffeine. It is also much cheaper to produce than natural
caffeine, another great thing, from the manufacturer's point
of view. Unfortunately, from a consumer's point of view, this
concentrated caffeine blast is absorbed into the bloodstream
almost as soon as it hits the stomach.
Natural products like the actual coffee from coffee beans,
Guarana seeds or tea leaves, are absorbed more gradually by
the body. They are also not as concentrated and therefore
less toxic than the chemical caffeine in most energy drinks.
Here are some advantages of natural caffeine (whether it be
in coffee, tea or Guarana). Firstly, the increased mental
alertness is longer. Instead of the instant high you get
from most energy drinks and then the subsequent downfall,
you get a sustained feeling of mental clarity for a few
hours and the effect eventually wears off more naturally and
Secondly, continuous exposure to synthetic caffeine over
saturates our nervous system. If this excessive exposure
continues, our nerves go haywire. This is Mother Nature's
way of telling us to be careful. Our hands may quiver,
nervous habits develop; our body starts to show signs of
stress not different from those related to anxiety or
depression. Not recommended for anyone.
With guaranine or tea or natural coffee beans, our digestive
and circulatory system can easily eliminate the excess
quantities without unduly affecting the nervous system. But
even with natural stimulants, they must be used carefully
and not in excessive amounts. It is best to stick with one
cup per day; of coffee (not the grande which is really like
6 coffees) or one 12 oz can of a natural energy drink or
unsweetened cold tea.
Organic coffees don't contain any of the chemicals used in
large farming operations. (http://www.wholefoods.com) Whole
Foods Markets has a wide variety of these.
Some natural energy drinks that are recommended :
GURU Energy Drinks and Syzmo. They are both made with
natural caffeine from Guarana and/or coffee. What's good
about GURU is that it is entirely natural, has no
artificial sweeteners or vitamins. Sysmo is made from good
ingredients but is more costly, and is an acquired taste.
Both of these are available on the
respective companies' website and at
(http://www.wholefoods.com) Whole Foods Markets.
With regards to teas; cold, brewed teas will provide the
best combination of anti-oxidants and natural caffeine. A
good brand is ITOEN, from Japan. Itoen Teas seems to be
the purest, unsweetened product out there. The Zen taste
grows on you after a couple of bottles. Another cool brand is
the US based Honest Tea, but they recently sold out to Coke
and now it seems they're selling out to the sweeter American