Energy Drink or Sugar Rush?

New research shows so-called “energy” drinks are no better at counteracting sleepiness than a brief sugar rush. HealthDay News reporter Steven Reinberg explains:

People who think sugary drinks are a pick-me-up may be in for a letdown: New research finds sweetened beverages actually boost sleepiness.

"People wishing to alleviate sleepiness through the consumption of a high-sugar, low-caffeine content energy drink -- erroneously believing the 'sugar rush' to be effective -- should avoid drinks that have little or no caffeine," said study co-author Clare Anderson, from the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom. "It is caffeine that is particularly effective for alleviating sleepiness, not sugar," she added.

Anderson and her colleague Jim Horne found that, one hour after drinking a high-sugar, low-caffeine drink, people had slower reaction times and experienced more lapses in concentration than if they had consumed a caffeine- and sugar-free beverage.

Lona Sandon, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center explains there are healthier ways to stay energized:

"To improve a feeling of having energy, start by getting plenty of rest, fluids, and fuel your body with quality nutrients from fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein sources," Sandon said. "A balanced diet, including carbohydrate, fat, and protein, will keep you feeling satisfied longer."
Trackbacks (0) Links to blogs that reference this article Trackback URL
Comments (3) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
JulieB - July 22, 2006 1:04 AM

What is there to say, it makes sense to me. Water is the best, you certainly feel more alert when fully hydrated. What concerns me are the high sugar and high caffeine drinks so popular with teenage boys, especially those containing ingredients like taurine. Taurine has many important functions in the body and it is a "natural" ingredient, but I worry that we don't know the long term effects of adding excess amounts to beverages. Does anybody know more about these kinds of drinks??

Linda - July 22, 2006 11:02 PM

What are the important functions in the body taurine performs, JulieB? I remember reading a bit about it, but I don't remember.

I think, though, even without knowing the benefits which might be gained through taurine, that the high-fructose corn syrup and other junk (caffeine, usually too, I think?) in these drinks nixes them!

Joel Fuhrman, MD - August 9, 2006 9:07 AM


Taurine is a conditionally essential amino acid with multiple effects in the body. An adequate level protects against diseases of aging and is necessary for proper function of the brain, heart and other tissues.

An avocado contains 75 mg of taurine, but it is largely found in animal products. Sometimes long-term vegans find they are a little low in taurine and feel better with using a taurine supplement.

Post A Comment / Question Use this form to add a comment to this entry.

Remember personal info?