Energy Drinks Causing Holes in the Brain? Energy Drinks in the News

In October 2017 a news story surfaced that a man suffered a severe brain injury because of excessive consumption of energy drinks. Biochemist and Energy Drink Guide author GreenEyedGuide explains what consumers should take away from this news story.

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GreenEyedGuide Caffeine Challenge Day 4/10 – How Caffeine Saves Lives

March is Caffeine Awareness Month! For Day 4 of the GreenEyedGuide Caffeine Challenge, we talk about how caffeine can SAVE LIVES!

One of the most important reasons to use the 5 Levels of Fatigue is so you don’t build up a tolerance, so caffeine will still work for you when you need it the most! It’s also important to remember that the 5th Level of Fatigue is Zombieland, in other words, that point at which there is no amount of caffeine that can save you. At that point, only sleep will help.

Learn more about the 5 Levels of Fatigue here

***PLAY ALONG – post a picture or your story about how caffeine has saved lives on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter and tag @GreenEyedGuide, or on the Caffeine Challenge Event page at Facebook.com/GreenEyedGuide/events

Through this challenge, you’ll learn how to use the 5 Levels of Fatigue to reap the benefits of caffeine while avoiding addiction, dependence, tolerance, and toxicity.

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What if you consume an energy drink while dehydrated? Book Excerpt of the Week

What happens if you consume an energy drink while dehydrated/without water? This Book Excerpt of the Week comes from PART ONE: ABCs of Caffeine Safety – C=Consumption Specifics. Whether an energy drink is safe for you, specifically, depends on who you are. It also depends on how (under what circumstances) you consume the product.

“Minimal dehydration (1-2% of body weight in fluids) can slow down metabolism and make you feel thirsty and slightly fatigued

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One of the reasons I developed the 5 Levels of Fatigue is because some people consume caffeine when their dehydration makes them tired. This is “Fatigue Level 1”. I urge everyone to consume a cup of water before reaching for caffeine, just in case. Sometimes, water (or the short walk to get the water and the subsequent trip to the bathroom) is enough to wake you up. This trick doesn’t work all the time, but it helps cut down on total caffeine consumption. If you want to avoid caffeine toxicity, tolerance, or dependence, you need to be strategic about when and how you consume it.

Help me share my story–  An energy drink is like your favorite song: what works for YOU might not work for me, and what works for you on a Monday morning may not be your go-to for a Friday night. As the GreenEyedGuide, I use food science to teach people how to calculate what they need and when, whether it’s water, a nap, or some healthy beverage in between.

For more information on the 5 Levels of Fatigue:

Get your copy of my book “Are You a Monster or a Rock Star-A Guide to Energy Drinks: How They Work, Why They Work, How to Use Them Safely” http://amzn.to/2bjHRbk

How much caffeine can I have a day? Book Excerpt of the Week

This Book Excerpt of the Week is from PART ONE: ABCs of Caffeine Safety – B=Biological Sensitivity. Did you know a healthy adult can consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day? This magic number is the conclusion of a massive study on caffeine intake and what amounts trigger side effects and health problems.

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PS – I also post the Book Excerpt of the Week every Monday morning on my Instagram page! Find me ‘greeneyedguide’

 

Obeying this this limit is SO IMPORTANT because it means the caffeine should not cause any side effects of bone health and calcium balance, heart health, changes in behavior, incidences of cancer, or male fertility.  Going above this magic limit is, well, pushing it. It goes without saying that your personal limits may vary depending on your own sensitivity. Also, I should not have to point this out, but it would be unwise to consume your whole day’s worth of caffeine in one sitting.

As I mentioned with the Book Except of the Week from last week (Caffeine and Panic Attacks), THIS IS WHY IT DRIVES ME CRAZY when people talk about energy drinks WITHOUT DISCLOSING THE AMOUNT OF CAFFEINE. Energy drinks caffeinated beverages and supplements are definitely not for everyone but it’s important to include these details so people can make informed choices about which products work and don’t work for them.

Help me share my story–  An energy drink is like your favorite song: what works for YOU might not work for me, and what works for you on a Monday morning may not be your go-to for a Friday night. As the GreenEyedGuide, I use food science to teach people how to calculate what they need and when, whether it’s water, a nap, or some healthy beverage in between.

For more information:

Get your copy of my book “Are You a Monster or a Rock Star-A Guide to Energy Drinks: How They Work, Why They Work, How to Use Them Safely” http://amzn.to/2bjHRbk

Energy Drink of the Month – Oct 2016 : Bing Crisp

Winter is coming. Do you need a little help keeping your energy up as the day winds down? How about a caffeinated beverage that doesn’t have the same stereotypical cocktail as the typical energy drink? How about something you can feel good about drinking – something with a little pizazz, or dare I say a little BING…

The Energy Drink of the Month for October 2016 is Bing Crisp.

It has apple and cherry juice, but there is also Bing original (cherry) and Bing Black (blackberry). The green one is my favorite (shocker), but your taste preference may vary.

Between the three flavors shown and mentioned above, the WHO, WHAT, and WHEN is consistent, but I will refer to the ingredients of Bing Crisp specifically.

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Who is this for? Target Audience

Bing Crisp contains 100 milligrams of caffeine per serving / per 12 ounce can. This is about the caffeine content of a tall Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, or an 8 ounce Red Bull. Unlike the PSL, Bing Crisp only has 8 grams of sugar – which is nice and low. Ingredients include cane sugar and sucralose, but there are no other sweeteners. Of course, apple juice does contribute its own sweetness, though.

There are no artificial colors, nor artificial flavors, and the preservatives used include consumer-friendly, CSPI-approved potassium sorbate. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has been accused before of fear-mongering and cherry-picking scientific studies, so if THEY say potassium sorbate is okay, that’s a great sign. (We’ve talked about potassium sorbate before during the Panera KNOW-No Project)

What is in it? Ingredients and Function

This drink contains caffeine and an insignificant amount of ginseng (see PS at the end). Unlike typical energy drinks Bing Crisp also has beta glucan, grape skin extract (as resveratrol), and cherry juice. SPOILER ALERT: The amounts aren’t enough to really change your life, but enough to make this a better choice than other energy drinks.

Beta glucan from oat fiber has been proven to reduce cholesterol and to reduce the risk of heart disease. To see this health benefit, you’d have to consume 3,000 milligrams of beta glucan a day, and Bing Crisp only contains 10 milligrams.

“Because oat beta glucan is a soluble form of fibre it dissolves inside the digestive tract where it forms a thick gel – a bit like wallpaper paste. This gel is able to bind to excess cholesterol and cholesterol like substances within the gut and help to prevent these from being absorbed into the body. The gel and the cholesterol is then excreted as part of the body’s waste.”  – Health UK Fact Sheet – Beta Glucan

Grape Skin Extract and… STORY TIME

Have you ever thought about what happens to grape skins during wine making? The total tonnage of grape skin waste generated might make you sad. When I was in grad school, my thesis project was to prove you could use those wasted grape skins to get antioxidants which you could then use to prevent fruit from turning brown.

YOU’D SAVE FOOD WASTE AT BOTH ENDS!

Sadly, I never got the antioxidant extraction quite right (it’s hard to prove that a food isn’t turning brown from spoilage if you’re using a brownish-purplish coating to preserve it but that’s a story for another day). Bing DOES use grape seed extract, but only for coloring purposes and not in amounts large enough to mean anything in terms of antioxidant potential.

Cherry juice has some interesting real-world research behind it. Cherry juice has been associated with reduced gout symptoms, improved arthritis, and boosted immune support. The research that interests me most involves running. Have you ever gone for a run and felt your throat get sore and dry afterward?

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Prolonged and exhaustive exercise can cause upper respiratory tract symptoms – in other words, all that heavy breathing of polluted air with your mouth open can irritate your throat! Cherries have been shown to reduce that irritation because of the kinds of antioxidants they contain. [Reference – JISSN article]

If you’re the kind of person that only runs because you have to, the cherry juice in Bing might help your post-run dry mouth. However, if you’re a legitimate runner, you probably need legitimate, straight cherry juice.

When to take it? 5 Levels of Fatigue

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During grad school, when I was doing research on energy drinks and their ingredients, I developed the 5 Levels of Fatigue. This system is designed to match the type and potency of caffeinated beverage with one’s true level of fatigue. In short, if you always reach for the strong stuff when you’re bored (not tired), it won’t work when you really truly need it.

According to the 5 Levels of Fatigue, this product, with its 100 mg caffeine per serving, is Fatigue Level 2. Fatigue Level 1 is when you’re only tired because you’re dehydrated. Level 2 means you’re tired enough to need real caffeine, but not so tired that you need something with a big kick. Note – Different Bing flavors may have more caffeine, for example, Bing (cherry) and Bing Black (blackberry) have about 120 milligrams of caffeine, while Bing Crisp (reviewed here) and Bing Raz (not shown) have 100 milligrams caffeine.

Bottom Line

Bing has some interesting ingredients that make this a healthier option than the more stereotypical energy drinks. If you’re someone that has to have caffeine every single day, you can feel good that the grape extract, beta glucan, and cherry juice are contributing to your health through a long-term, additive effect.

PS – If you’re a nerd like me and you want to learn more about what ginseng does (allegedly) and why it’s so hard to prove its health benefits, check out my book “Are You a Monster or a Rock Star: A Guide to Energy Drinks – How They Work, Why They Work, How to Use Them Safely”

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