As the popularity of energy drinks has grown over the years, so have their number of uses.
While on the surface, it might seem that they are only taken for an energy boost and to stay up during work after having stayed awake the whole night, this is not the case. Energy drinks are vastly becoming popular among young adults and others who wish to watch their weight because of their appetite-repressing abilities.
What exactly makes energy drinks do this, and is it safe to consume them just to suppress your hunger?
Read on to find out!
Energy Drinks as Appetite-Suppressants
Recent research has shown that youngsters, especially females, use energy drinks to suppress their appetite and lose a considerable amount of weight.
The data collected by experts suggest that young women use energy drinks to replace meals. They often go for energy drinks low in sugar and high in caffeine, as the caffeine content tends to fill them up quickly, and less sugar prevents them from consuming carbs.
An expert psychologist, Ross King, Associate Professor at the Deakin University, has studied the correlation between eating disorders and energy drinks and has found that such sugar-free drinks and colas are commonly used as energy boosters and as tools for meal replacement.
To further strengthen his study, Professor Ross King conducted research using 97 women between 18 to 25 as candidates.
At the end of the study, he found that some of them were using sugar-free energy drinks to help them starve, skip and replace meals, and lose considerable weight at a quicker pace. Only one-third of those women used energy drinks to gain energy while, most of them used them to prevent hunger.
Common Ingredients in Energy Drinks
Energy drinks contain a unique blend of ingredients; however, a study claims that caffeine is the only ingredient that actively works and affects the consumer, whether by providing a boost of energy or suppressing their appetite.
Caffeine is the oldest and most common stimulant used in most energy drinks. It is naturally found in beverages like tea and coffee; however, manufacturers diligently add it in soft drinks and energy drinks for that extra push of energy.
Most energy drinks contain approximately 60mg to 200mg of caffeine which is completely safe for consumption.
According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), an adult should not consume more than 400mg of caffeine in a day. Consuming more than this amount could lead to harmful side effects such as anxiety, body tremors, an escalation of heart rate, and blood pressure, insomnia, and dehydration, etc.
Another common ingredient used in energy drinks is Taurine, an amino acid naturally found in the human body. Our body naturally produces enough Taurine not to need supplements. However, manufacturers add Taurine in energy drinks to regulate muscle contractions, energy levels, and our heartbeat.
Guarana is also a common ingredient in energy drinks. It is a plant used by the Amazonians for boosting energy and alertness. It is denser and more robust than caffeine.
Ginseng may not be as expected of an ingredient as the others mentioned in this list. However, it is still very commonly used by manufacturers due to its anti-fatigue and stress-relieving properties.
L-Carnitine, another amino acid found naturally in our kidneys and liver, is common ingredient manufacturers add to energy drinks. It not only increases energy levels but also speeds up your metabolism.
Other common ingredients used in energy drinks include;
- B vitamins
- Acai Berry
- Artificial sweeteners
- Yerba Mate
- Milk Thistle
- Ginkgo Biloba
Caffeine in Energy Drinks
Caffeine is the primary energizer manufacturers add to energy drinks.
Its quantity varies from brand to brand but usually ranges from 160 to 200mg in a 16 fl. oz. can
This amount is enough to keep you awake and going for hours on the end, depending upon how ‘strong‘ the energy drink you had was.
Watch the video below for a detailed overview of how caffeine works and what exactly it does to your body.
Does Caffeine Make You Less Hungry?
For a short time, caffeine may lower your appetite and desire to eat.
Caffeine dilates the pulmonary airways, increases blood flow to the heart and skeletal muscles, and lowers blood flow near the skin and gastrointestinal food processing organs.
Caffeine also boosts hepatic glucose synthesis and the usage of stored fat to keep glucose production going if needed.
As a result, the increased blood glucose level causes you to feel less hungry. Caffeine also reduces the sense of hunger in the brain.
Does Taurine Supress Your Appetite?
Taurine releases insulin in the human body, intensifying the synthesis of proteins in our muscles and stimulating the breakdown of excess fat.
Muscles have a limited glucose storage capacity, When Taurine releases more glucose in these muscles, our body releases the hormones responsible for breaking down fat reserves and suppresses our appetite.
Can Energy Drinks Help You Lose Weight?
The caffeine in energy drinks can boost your metabolism enough to burn 100 extra calories upon consumption.
Based on this, a regular intake of energy drinks can help you lose one pound of fat in a month. If you double your energy drink consumption, you will be able to burn more calories and hence, lose more weight per month.
However, this is not recommended as it can cause you to develop a caffeine dependency amount and many other problems.
Do B-Vitamins Rid You of Your Appetite?
B-group vitamins do not deliver energy to the body. However, the body indeed lacks power without B-group vitamins.
So, B-vitamins do not affect your appetite directly or indirectly.
Is Losing Your Appetite Bad For You?
Eating is a necessary component of life since it provides us with the energy and nutrition our bodies require to be healthy.
Depending on the number of energy drinks you’re having and how many meals they are allowing you to skip, losing your appetite can be both, good and bad for you.
If you are looking to lose weight and rely on a can of your favorite energy drink to rid you of hunger every once in a while, you’re good to go, this won’t have any major impacts on your health.
However, if you’re suffering from an eating disorder or regularly having energy drinks to maintain weight and avoid eating anything, it is a cause of concern and should be immediately treated.
If you lose your appetite, you may have other symptoms, including weight loss or malnutrition. If left untreated, they can become dangerous.
How Is Your Appetite Affected After Having Too Many Energy Drinks?
Having too many energy drinks can fill you up and make you feel extremely nauseous, cause body tremors, spike your heart rate and blood pressure.
Ingredients such as caffeine and taurine add to the drink’s appetite-suppressing capacity.
Having one or a maximum of two 16 fl. oz (500mL) energy drinks won’t have any immediate adverse effects and suppress your hunger for a brief amount of time.
On the contrary, having more than two energy drinks will make you less hungry for longer amounts of time, but also make you suffer from the side effects of a caffeine overdose and the set of negative health effects that come with losing your appetite.
Here is a brief guide to the pros and cons of consuming energy drinks to suppress your appetite.
|Help you lose weight.||Vomiting.|
|Makes it easier to follow a diet plan.||Inability to keep liquids down.|
|Helps you save money on food.||Pain when trying to eat.|
Note that the cons are for when some have had large quantities of energy drinks and have had their appetites suppressed for large amounts of time.
Energy Drinks that Aid in Losing Weight
If you are actively trying to lose weight and are looking for energy drinks that can help you in this journey, here is a list of drinks that can help.
These are selected due to the properties of various ingredients present and their low-calorie content, which won’t negatively affect your weight-loss venture.
Other Notable Mentions
Caffeine in large doses can harm the heart and blood vessels, causing cardiac rhythm problems and an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.
Excessive caffeine use has also been related to anxiety, sleep disorders, digestive troubles, and dehydration. High dosages of most B vitamins are not harmful, but too much vitamin B6 and niacin can be.
Excessive energy drinks can result in skin flushing, burning, tingling, and itching, and more significant symptoms such as headache, rash, dizziness, and low blood pressure.
So, in conclusion, the minimal amount of weight loss and appetite suppression caused by energy drinks is not worth it.