2

votes

Energy drinks - how horrible are they?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created August 03, 2010 at 8:04 PM

I am part of a small team that operates a haunted house, so I am rapidly approaching a month of incredibly long hours characterized by at least some strenuous labor. Cutting back on hours or stress is not an option I am able to entertain.

I will prioritize sleep when I can and have held off on vacation time from the day job to spend on having at least a few days when I'm only at the haunt, but I will be exhausted regardless.

Last year, I started drinking those 5-hour energy shots on the really tiring nights, though I don't indulge in artificial sweeteners in other contexts. I know they are not good for me, and believe me, I wouldn't drink them if it were not necessary. How poisonous are these things? Is there a more paleo-friendly alternative, particularly something that can be imbibed quickly?

48b86f0a10101d13a23ea46e72d8e755

on June 07, 2014
at 09:40 AM

Check out AMARA - a paleo energy-, sports- and recovery drink.

We sell in Europe: www.facebook.com/AMARA.europe / www.facebook.com/AMARA.europe

But in US you can buy it on Amazon.

Cc93847bfa820f0f2da654060b401fa5

(746)

on June 30, 2011
at 12:58 AM

They are absolute hell on your teeth. Caffeine is hell on adrenals. That said, black coffee probably if you can gag it down.

1471beca8e3adff4ae2f89d10e5f7acb

(6550)

on August 14, 2010
at 08:20 PM

I just wanted to let you know that for a 16-hour build day last week I made a double-strength coffee, heavy cream, and vanilla beverage and dissolved some B-12 in it, and it kept me framing walls until the wee hours with no crash. Sure, it's not something my paleolithic ancestors would go for, but I feel like it split the difference.

95ab15c8ef50ff0daf87ccbdd52cd3b8

(2384)

on August 07, 2010
at 12:58 AM

You're wrong, Patrik, but there isn't enough space here to get into detail. Ask an endocrinologist, if you happen to know one. The stuff saved my life on at least one occasion.

1471beca8e3adff4ae2f89d10e5f7acb

(6550)

on August 05, 2010
at 06:30 PM

Oh man, Gisela, I really like the lens of this being a sort of shamanistic undertaking, especially as it is a huge crazy labor of love for our whole team. Thank you. If nothing else, at least that image will help me stress less about the obviously sub-optimal content of those little bottle.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on August 05, 2010
at 06:22 PM

@John R -- You are right -- they are there for a reason; pure marketing fluff.

C8521a858edd480815a55f683afff86a

(2065)

on August 05, 2010
at 05:12 PM

Sorry, yes I didn't even mean to include so much text. When I initially tried to break up the text it was automatically putting it all back together, I must have been doing something wrong.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 05, 2010
at 04:13 AM

All I have to say is.. this would be easier to read if it had paragraphs! ;-)

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 05, 2010
at 04:11 AM

Oops, I was looking at the wiki listing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5-Hour_Energy which apparently is not a full listing of ingredients. Yeah, I hate it when they have mystery flavorings. Probably some kind of chemicals or there isn't much of them since the carbs are low in the overall product.

8347d512bca9b034d53da40dab8cd21c

(2517)

on August 04, 2010
at 05:50 PM

Well, if you figure you ought to be hydrated in some fashion anyways, I'd rather go for the coconut water. :) I agree with you on it being a "recovery drink" -- it definitely works well in that respect.

95ab15c8ef50ff0daf87ccbdd52cd3b8

(2384)

on August 04, 2010
at 02:39 PM

"Electrolytes" can mean any of several substances, but the ones most often seen in energy drinks are sodium and potassium, the ones most directly related to fluid balance. They are there for a reason. It's not just marketing fluff.

1471beca8e3adff4ae2f89d10e5f7acb

(6550)

on August 04, 2010
at 02:36 PM

I love coconut water but to me it (and stuff like awful, disgusting, wretched Gatorade) aren't "energy drinks" so much as "recovery drinks".

1471beca8e3adff4ae2f89d10e5f7acb

(6550)

on August 04, 2010
at 02:25 PM

I was wondering how dissolving some of those booty-kicking B-vitamins from the 5-hour shot into super-strong espresso might work, and then keeping those on hand. That shake sounds magnificent, though it wouldn't really work in this context.

35deb6722604c868c610088a6d8ce09e

(295)

on August 04, 2010
at 02:09 PM

Looks like it has sucralose (Splenda) and "natural and artificial flavors" thought. http://www.5hourenergy.com/healthfacts.asp

07ca188c8dac3a17f629dd87198d2098

(7970)

on August 03, 2010
at 11:47 PM

That coffee shake sounds delicious!

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10 Answers

best answer

3
B4aa2df25a6bf17d22556667ff896170

(851)

on August 03, 2010
at 09:04 PM

Well if you are looking for caffeine, this seems almost too obvious to state but coffee is a more paleo-friendly alternative... as long as you dont add sugar or coffeemate stuff to it. But if you have it black or with some cream, its a good option.

Having said that, I do understand that coffee outside of the morning context may be a little unappealing, particularly during a really hot summer day. But if you are at home, try making a smoothie type drink with some leftover coffee, or brew some really strong coffee. To a blender I add cold double strength coffee, ice, coconut milk, and either vanilla, cinnamon, or cocoa powder. Really refreshing, and a good pick me up. Much better than the 400 calorie frappacino sugar bombs at starbucks

1471beca8e3adff4ae2f89d10e5f7acb

(6550)

on August 04, 2010
at 02:25 PM

I was wondering how dissolving some of those booty-kicking B-vitamins from the 5-hour shot into super-strong espresso might work, and then keeping those on hand. That shake sounds magnificent, though it wouldn't really work in this context.

07ca188c8dac3a17f629dd87198d2098

(7970)

on August 03, 2010
at 11:47 PM

That coffee shake sounds delicious!

1471beca8e3adff4ae2f89d10e5f7acb

(6550)

on August 14, 2010
at 08:20 PM

I just wanted to let you know that for a 16-hour build day last week I made a double-strength coffee, heavy cream, and vanilla beverage and dissolved some B-12 in it, and it kept me framing walls until the wee hours with no crash. Sure, it's not something my paleolithic ancestors would go for, but I feel like it split the difference.

48b86f0a10101d13a23ea46e72d8e755

on June 07, 2014
at 09:40 AM

Check out AMARA - a paleo energy-, sports- and recovery drink.

We sell in Europe: www.facebook.com/AMARA.europe / www.facebook.com/AMARA.europe

But in US you can buy it on Amazon.

3
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 04, 2010
at 03:11 AM

If we are talking about 5 hour energy shots, this is a specific kind of concoction that has no sugar, zero net carbs, and no gluten. From what I can see, it's basically just a small swig of concentrated vitamins, minerals, and aminos. Nothing I see really raises any huge alarm bells personally. Obviously, swigging doses of B vitamins and niacin is not going to be paleo, but I don't see anything I would really call 'poison' either. I'd guess that there might be imbalances if taking some vitamins in kinda high doses, but even that I can't say for sure. Besides, I couldn't really point fingers because I have to drive long distances, I get sleepy easy and I couldn't really do it safely if I didn't take some mild (legal) stimulants. I'd rather be not paleo and alert than paleo and dead because I fell asleep at the wheel! ;-P -Eva

35deb6722604c868c610088a6d8ce09e

(295)

on August 04, 2010
at 02:09 PM

Looks like it has sucralose (Splenda) and "natural and artificial flavors" thought. http://www.5hourenergy.com/healthfacts.asp

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 05, 2010
at 04:11 AM

Oops, I was looking at the wiki listing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5-Hour_Energy which apparently is not a full listing of ingredients. Yeah, I hate it when they have mystery flavorings. Probably some kind of chemicals or there isn't much of them since the carbs are low in the overall product.

2
Cc69a51b427eaad36251cce9dcca4d3a

(1074)

on November 17, 2011
at 05:56 PM

mmm grass-fed red bull :P

1
Da397846a2cfad231a1122126bb6eda7

(227)

on August 05, 2010
at 04:16 AM

I have a tough time wrapping my head around the idea that such concoctions could even work, but I'll accept that your experience is that they do the job you want them to do. I've never tried any of these energy drinks and I've never been in such a dire situation as what you describe.

Grok probably worked in teams when there was a lot to do all at once. Any chance you might be able to recruit more helpers to accomplish all this stressful activity within your timetable?

If you were drinking these things weekly or daily, yeah, it wouldn't be the best thing, and yes, it's not paleo. But you describe a particular situation in which you are essentially taking this stuff as a kind of drug or medicine for the given time-limited purpose, like a shaman taking his hallucinogens to do his job. So you do what works for you.

1471beca8e3adff4ae2f89d10e5f7acb

(6550)

on August 05, 2010
at 06:30 PM

Oh man, Gisela, I really like the lens of this being a sort of shamanistic undertaking, especially as it is a huge crazy labor of love for our whole team. Thank you. If nothing else, at least that image will help me stress less about the obviously sub-optimal content of those little bottle.

1
C8521a858edd480815a55f683afff86a

(2065)

on August 04, 2010
at 07:06 PM

So, if what you are drinking is caffeine, petroleum by product and a big ol' placebo why not cut out the chemicals and placebo and go for some natural caffeine? Brew a huge jar of green tea or Yerba Mate at the beginning of the week and take it with you to work. Add a little honey and grey sea salt for minerals if you are concerned about that. You don't have to spend any time during the week messing with it, once it's brewed you can just take what you need for the day. Even a few ounces every hour or so should give you a nice, even energy. I also get a good energy rush from infusions of nettles and dandelions, which you can find in health food stores. Your product contains artificial flavors which are linked to allergies, indigestion, headaches and irritation of gastrointestinal tract among other things. Artificial flavors are made from petroleum. As for the sucrolose, the following text is taken from a WAPF sweeteners guide:

Of the few human studies which have been conducted, one focusing on diabetics using sucralose showed ???a statistically significant increase in glycosylated hemoglobin (Hba1C), which is a marker of long-term blood glucose levels and is used to assess glycemic control in diabetic patients.???

The FDA itself has stated that ???increases in glycosolation in hemoglobin imply lessening of control in diabetes.???74 Research conducted with rats, mice and rabbits has shown that sucralose consumption can cause shrinking of the thymus gland (up to 40 percent shrinkage), enlargement of the liver and kidneys, atrophy of lymph follicles in the spleen and thymus, increased cecal weight, reduced bodily growth rate, decreased red blood cell count, hyperplasia of the pelvis, extension of gestational periods in pregnancy, decreased fetal body weights and placental weights, and diarrhea. According to the FDA???s ???Final Rule??? report on sucralose, it was considered to be ???weakly mutagenic in a mouse lymphoma mutation assay.???7

The reason for this host of side effects is not fully understood. Many detractors have raised concerns due to the fact that sucralose is a chlorinated molecule. Chlorinated molecules, which are used as the basis for pesticides such as DDT, tend to accumulate in body tissues. Johnson & Johnson maintains that sucralose passes through the digestive system without any absorption or metabolization, but the FDA???s own research has shown that 11 to 27 percent of sucralose is absorbed in humans, while the rest is excreted unchanged in the feces. Tests performed by the Japanese Food Sanitation Council have found that as much as 40 percent of ingested sucralose is absorbed. To further dispute the manufacturer???s claims, research indicates that about 20 to 30 percent of the absorbed sucralose is metabolized. Both the metabolites and unchanged absorbed sucralose are excreted in urine, but some absorbed sucralose has been found to concentrate in the liver, kidney and gastrointestinal tract.76 *Just say no man!!! Don't give companies that sell this junk your hard earned money!

C8521a858edd480815a55f683afff86a

(2065)

on August 05, 2010
at 05:12 PM

Sorry, yes I didn't even mean to include so much text. When I initially tried to break up the text it was automatically putting it all back together, I must have been doing something wrong.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 05, 2010
at 04:13 AM

All I have to say is.. this would be easier to read if it had paragraphs! ;-)

1
8347d512bca9b034d53da40dab8cd21c

on August 04, 2010
at 02:25 PM

If I were to go with any kind of "energy drink," it'd be coconut water. You at least know what's in it, and it probably tastes better than anything that comes in "shot form."

I will, on the morning of a race, have a Red Bull prior to the run -- but that's the only exception to my personal "no energy drink" rule. (And coconut water makes for a great post-race drink.)

8347d512bca9b034d53da40dab8cd21c

(2517)

on August 04, 2010
at 05:50 PM

Well, if you figure you ought to be hydrated in some fashion anyways, I'd rather go for the coconut water. :) I agree with you on it being a "recovery drink" -- it definitely works well in that respect.

1471beca8e3adff4ae2f89d10e5f7acb

(6550)

on August 04, 2010
at 02:36 PM

I love coconut water but to me it (and stuff like awful, disgusting, wretched Gatorade) aren't "energy drinks" so much as "recovery drinks".

0
48b86f0a10101d13a23ea46e72d8e755

on June 07, 2014
at 09:39 AM

Check out AMARA - a paleo energy-, sports- and recovery drink.

We sell in Europe: www.facebook.com/AMARA.europe / www.facebook.com/AMARA.europe

But in US you can buy it on Amazon.

0
Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on November 17, 2011
at 07:04 PM

Well Red Bull contains Taurine which is found naturally in meat, though Red Bull would use synthetically produced Taurine. How effective ingesting a spoon of natural Taurine with your cup of coffee would be interesting to know. :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_bull

Red Bull contains taurine, glucuronolactone, caffeine, B vitamins, sucrose, and glucose. Red Bull sugar-free also contains aspartame, acesulfame K, and sucralose in place of sucrose and glucose.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taurine

Taurine, or 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, is an organic acid widely distributed in animal tissues. It is a major constituent of bile and can be found in the large intestine and accounts for approximately 0.1% of total human body weight. Taurine is named after the Latin taurus (a cognate of the Greek ταύρος) which means bull or ox, as it was first isolated from ox bile in 1827 by German scientists Friedrich Tiedemann and Leopold Gmelin.

0
Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d

on August 08, 2010
at 11:03 AM

Sugarstacks.com has some energy drinks on their beverages page: http://www.sugarstacks.com/beverages.htm

They seem to be basically sugar water, enriched and fortified with extra marketing hype. About as Paleo as Coca-Cola.

0
8287c6ddae0d78eae0a09fdd5999617c

(2581)

on August 04, 2010
at 09:19 AM

"Electrolytes" = sodium. They just call it electrolytes so it sounds all amazing and energizing. and it's very bad when you get brands like Gatorade that are full of calories from sugar.

95ab15c8ef50ff0daf87ccbdd52cd3b8

(2384)

on August 04, 2010
at 02:39 PM

"Electrolytes" can mean any of several substances, but the ones most often seen in energy drinks are sodium and potassium, the ones most directly related to fluid balance. They are there for a reason. It's not just marketing fluff.

95ab15c8ef50ff0daf87ccbdd52cd3b8

(2384)

on August 07, 2010
at 12:58 AM

You're wrong, Patrik, but there isn't enough space here to get into detail. Ask an endocrinologist, if you happen to know one. The stuff saved my life on at least one occasion.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on August 05, 2010
at 06:22 PM

@John R -- You are right -- they are there for a reason; pure marketing fluff.

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