Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Beware the energy drink

Last night I was doing a class at Whole Foods, the topic being better sleep. I got there early to cruise the aisles to get ideas for discussion topics. I think I need to spend an entire afternoon studying energy drinks.

One thing I've learned in addiction work is that people who've struggled with addictions tend to want to control their energy levels--and their emotions--externally. So if they're tired, for example, instead of viewing that as an indication that they need to get their sleep cycle back into balance, they turn to a drink or a supplement for energy.

That can become a vicious cycle.

If you overdo the energy drinks during the day, it may backfire and make it harder to fall asleep at night, setting you up to be even more tired the following day. And when you're tired...you are more likely to crave sweets when you ARE awake.

People who don't sleep well are prone to being insulin resistant, which means they're going to have trouble maintaining their weight.

My message is, beware the energy drink, especially the one that's promoting itself as "natural". Caffeine is natural. Lard is natural. Even arsenic is natural. Don't make the illogical leap of assuming that because a product is natural, or organic, that it is automatically good for you in unlimited amounts. Two ingredients I saw in a lot of these beverages were guarana and green tea. I love green tea, but it contains caffeine. So I always get the decaffeinated kind. Guarana is a stimulant. Which means it's an upper. Which means it can be over consumed, especially by people who were addicted to less "desirable" stimulants in their addiction days.

If you're having trouble with energy, let's figure out why. Are you eating enough? Eating enough of the right things? Focusing on complex carbohydrates that stay in your system longer? Getting enough sleep? Managing your stress? Are you working on caffeine withdrawal? (That one is killer and can take a long time.)

I'll work on a list of ingredients for a later post, but I wanted to start the discussion here since there was a whole aisle of shelf space devoted to these drinks and for many of you, it seemed like, without judicious label reading, could be the "aisle of trouble".

Read those labels and know what you're drinking!

1 comment:

yowza said...

Don't forget - exercise can have a huge (usually positive) impact on your energy level!