Energy Drinks & Sports Drinks: Are they healthy?

Energy drinks and sports drinks are a big business. Global energy drink sales  reached $57.4 billion in 2020. The global sports drink market size was valued at $22.37 billion in 2018Check out the rows of ergonomically-designed bottles filled with neon-colored sports drinks and the eye-catching designs and colors of energy drink cans and you realize there is no doubt that we are dealing with major marketing strategies.

ENERGY DRINKS

There are two main ingredients in all brands of energy drinks: caffeine and sugar. Depending on the brand, there may also be taurine or extracts of guarana seed or green tea. Some brands add negligible amounts of B vitamins. Listed below are caffeine and sugar amounts found in some popular brands of energy drinks.

BRANDCAFFEINE AMOUNTS
Rockstar180 mg per 12 fl oz
Monster Energy120 mg per 12 fl oz
Red Bull113.5 mg per 12 fl oz
Yerba Mate150 mg per 12 fl oz
5-Hour Energy Shots200 mg per 2 fl oz
BRAND Serving size Sugar per serve (grams) Sugar per serve (teaspoons)
Rockstar16.9 fl oz6716.8
Yerba Mate16.9 fl oz276.8
Monster16.9 fl oz5110.2
Red Bull12 fl oz346.8
5-Hour Energy2 fl ozZeroZero

As a point of reference, an 8-oz cup of coffee has 95 mg of caffeine. The Mayo Clinic suggests that daily caffeine intake should not exceed 400 mg. 

Caffeine is a stimulant and is additive. Caffeine tolerance is created with regular use, necessitating increasingly higher doses to achieve its effects. Caffeine overdose and caffeine toxicity are possible. When caffeine intake is suddenly stopped, withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, headache, agitation, depressed mood, and fatigue can occur. 

SPORTS DRINKS

The claim of sports drinks is that they provide needed hydration and electrolytes to replenish the body following expenditure of energy due to competitive sports and vigorous exercise. 

An electrolyte is a substance that conducts electricity when dissolved in water. Electrolytes are critical for normal functioning of our cells, muscles, nerves, and organs. Essential electrolytes required by the body are sodium, potassium, calcium, bicarbonate, magnesium, chloride, and phosphate.

The main ingredients of sports drinks are water and sugar. In addition to sugar, sports drinks provide electrolytes in the form of salt and potassium. Some brands also include calcium, magnesium and phosphate. 

SUGAR

When a large dose of sugar is ingested, the result is a sugar rush. The stomach prepares for an influx of food, brain and body are stimulated to release insulin and adrenaline into the bloodstream. Heartrate and blood pressure increase. However, no food has been digested and no nutrients have been supplied. The sugar is quickly absorbed without long-lasting results, which results in the crash: feelings of sluggishness, fatigue, and the need for caffeine and sugar. 

Listed below are sugar amounts for some well-known sports drink brands.

BrandServing sizeSugar per serve (g)Sugar per serve (tsp)
Gatorade20.2 fl oz369.0
Powerade20.2 fl oz358.8
Bodyarmor16 fl oz369.0

In response to growing consumer concern over the relationship between sugar consumption to onset of diabetes and obesity, producers of energy and sports drinks have developed sugar-free and low-sugar versions of these drinks. To create a sweet taste, artificial sweeteners are used in place of sugar.

Artificial sweeteners are hundreds, even thousands, of times sweeter than sugar. They excite the sugar receptors on the tongue and fool the brain into releasing insulin.  Artificial sweeteners hijack our sense of taste for the natural sweetness found in healthy foods causing them to taste flat. 

Scientific studies have shown that use of artificial sweeteners actually increases weight gain, blood sugar imbalance, and feelings of hunger and craving, which lead to over eating. 

Listed below are names of artificial sweeteners approved by the FDA.

Scientific NameCommon/Brand Name
AspartameEqual, NutraSweet
SaccharinSweet’N’Low, Sugar Twin
SucraloseSplenda
Acesulfame K (also Ace K)Sunett, Sweet One
Stevia (plant-based))Truvia, PureVia, Sweet Leaf
Sugar alcohols (plant-based)Mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol

BOTTOM LINE

The truth is energy drinks and sports drinks are NOT healthy options, especially for children and teens. The ideal method for creating energy and stamina is to eat a diet rich in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, leafy greens, legumes, and proteins. All the essential electrolytes we need are found naturally in these foods.

The best way to stay hydrated is to drink plenty of water.  It’s simple to increase the palatability of plain water by infusing it with lemon, fruit, mint leaves, cucumber slices, or aromatic herbs like fresh basil. The possibilities are endless, all it takes is imagination.

REFERENCES:

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/caffeine/Y

https://uichildrens.org/health-library/sugar-sports-drinks

https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/is-5-hour-energy-safe-for-people-with-diabetes

https://www.rethinksugarydrink.org.au/how-much-sugar

https://www.buzzfeed.com


Food Addiction & Obesity

Have you ever watched a reality TV program called “My 600-pound Life“? Morbidly obese people travel to Houston, Texas in hopes of getting weight-loss surgery. There are extensive personal interviews as we follow these people on their weight-loss journey before and after their surgery. 

They talk about what food means to them, about how eating makes them happy and hunger is never satisfied. Their every waking moment is consumed with their desire for food and they only feel complete when they are eating. Yet, at the same time, they hate their lives and their bodies. 

Food becomes their addiction and obsession, longing for the comfort only food can bring. Just as strong as the desire for food are their feelings of shame, self-loathing, disappointment, hopelessness, and frustration over their lack of self-control. 

Whenever I watch this program, I cry inside for those frustrated, pitiful, unhappy people. I understand the yearning for change and the shame and disappointment that comes after the eating. Fortunately, I do not weigh 600 pounds, but the struggle of seeking comfort in food is very real for me, too.

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Collagen

Everywhere you look, people are talking about collagen.  What makes collagen so important? Why do we see so many products, cosmetics and foods with added collagen? 

Collagen is the most abundant protein found in our bodies.  Collagen plays a key role in providing strength and structural integrity to body tissues. It is like the glue that holds our bodies together. 

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Could Depression Be a Physical Thing?

Could Depression Be a Physical Thing?

Are you feeling moody? Anxious? Depressed? Trouble sleeping? Sluggish or overactive digestion and bowel movements? Low libido/sexual desire? Poor concentration?

There is common thread running through these symptoms: a lack of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is one of more than 40 neurotransmitters found throughout the nervous system. It is intimately tied to our sense of well-being. 

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Stress, Covid-19 and Nature

Are you quarantined due to Covid-19? Perhaps you have lost your job or maybe all you do is go from home to work and back, in order to protect yourself and family. Have you been out of contact with friends and loved ones due to Covid-19? 

Are you concerned about friends or family members who are currently ill with Covid-19? Have you lost loved ones to this terrible disease?

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Chemo Brain and Neurofeedback

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are designed to attack and kill cancer cells.  Unfortunately, in the process of doing so, healthy cells are also often attacked and killed. This is one of the reasons these therapies often create unwanted side effects.

During and after chemotherapy treatment, many cancer patients experience feelings of brain fog, fuzzy thinking, or memory difficulties known as chemo brain. Frequently, the effects of chemo brain continue long after the chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment has ended.  

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Living with Viruses and Bacteria

We live in a world that is filled with invisible living creatures known as microbes.  Algae, fungi, and bacteria are types of microbes. Microbes are single-celled, living creatures. Look at a drop of pond water under a microscope and you will see a variety of fascinating creatures of different shapes, sizes and methods of movement.

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Acne and Cystic Acne: Topical Remedies

Part 4 of a 4-Part Series

Acne outbreaks can be unsightly, painful, and embarrassing. Acne outbreaks can affect a person’s sense of self-confidence.

The good news is there are hundreds of easily obtained products designed to reduce and prevent acne outbreaks. 

First let’s take a look at over-the-counter creams and cleansers commonly found at your local drug store or grocery store. A check of the most common ingredients shows the majority of these products contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide as the “active ingredients’. Also found as “active ingredients” are hydrogen peroxide and alpha hydroxy acids. 

The acids penetrate the skin, dissolve dead skin cells that clog pores, and reduce oily build upon the skin surface. They also act as anti-inflammatory ingredients and help prevent bacterial infections.

However, these ingredients are extremely harsh and can actually damage the skin.  That is why they are always diluted and combined with a variety of creams, gels and ointments designed to soothe and re-hydrate the skin.

Whenever I look at a condition or disease, I always ask: are there natural alternatives to chemical and pharmaceutical preparations?

Actually, natural remedies have been used for hundreds, even thousands of years to alleviate common skin conditions and even treat wounds. Common natural remedies are high in anti-oxidants, and have one or more ant-bacterial, anti-fungal, and/or anti-viral properties.

Tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca oil, is distilled from the leaves of the Melaleuca Alternifolia plant. It has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties. It can be used to treat acne, athlete’s foot, contact dermatitis, and head lice. 

Add 4 drops of tea tree oil to half a cup of water and apply to the face with a cotton ball twice daily. Tea tree oil is very strong and should be diluted before using. Tea tree oil can be added to your favorite shampoo to help clear dandruff. 

Tea tree oil products for acne and other uses are available at your local health food store. Do not swallow tea tree oil or get it into your eyes. It is toxic if taken internally.

Honey has been used since ancient times to treat burns, sores, and boils. Raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized honey has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-oxidant properties. Raw, pure honey never gets moldy or rancid. 

Manuka honey comes from flowers of the melaleuca tree. Doctors in New Zealand and Australia use it to treat wounds and burns. In 2007, the FDA approved use of manuka honey for treatment of wounds and burns in the US.

Gently dab raw, unfiltered honey onto pimples. Anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial properties of honey help clear debris from clogged pores.  Dilute a half teaspoon of honey with a little lemon juice to create a facial mask and gently massage into your face, avoid getting it into eyes. Rinse with warm water after 5-10 minutes. 

Aloe vera has also been used for hundreds of years to treat burns, wounds, and skin conditions. It has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. After cleansing, use creams or gels with at least 10% aloe vera content. It is an excellent moisturizer, and can be used as a face mask right from the plant or bottled in its natural state. 

Additional information about treating acne naturally can be found on the following website:  https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322455.php

Now I want to share a very exciting new product. Modere, the company that makes Liquid BioCell, has created CellProof, a facial serum containing the Liquid BioCell molecule. Designed for anti-aging, CellProof improves hydration, microcirculation, and reduces fine lines and wrinkles. I decided to test it for use with acne.

My grandson, Simon, age 17, had been regularly using over-the-counter acne products with salicylic acid when I took these photos on August 10, 2019. His acne became so bad that a dermatologist prescribed a course of anti-biotics. 

Following his anti-biotic treatment, I gave Simon a bottle of CellProof serum and asked him to use it faithfully, twice a day after washing his face. He continued using acne products with salicylic acid, but the addition of CellProof with Liquid BioCell increased the effectiveness of his cleansing routine. After about a week of using CellProof, he said that he noticed his skin felt smoother, and most importantly, his face did not hurt anymore.

Adding the serum to his daily cleansing routine made a tremendous difference in the severity of his acne.  On October 20, 2019, I took these photos of Simon:

On December 15, 2019, I took these photos. Notice that acne scars have begun to heal and there are only minor breakouts.

Finally, here is Simon, now 18, taken on February 15, 2020. What is most remarkable is the healing of deep acne scars and almost no breakouts.

For more information: go to jointskinhelp.shiftingretail.com/live-clean and search Collagen Sciences.

To order Cell Proof, click here.


Acne & Cystic Acne: Diet

Part 3 of a 4-Part Series

Can the foods we eat be related to acne outbreaks?

Ask any teen-ager if they think foods can cause an acne outbreak and I’m pretty sure they will mention chocolate. Well, in addition to chocolate, greasy foods, sugary foods and drinks, as well as highly processed, refined foods are all suspected of contributing to acne outbreaks.

Foods high in sugar and refined carbohydrates tend to cause inflammation in the body. Inflammation is known to increase incidents of acne. Avoiding foods that cause inflammation may help decrease acne outbreaks.

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