There are very few of us who have not turned to coffee (or any other caffeinated beverage) in hopes to put a spring in our step. Gone are the days where a cup of coffee would be more a social tool to catch up with friends than the number one source for energy.

Nowadays, because life is so hectic and sleep is hard to come by that we have actually invented beverages in which their sole purpose is to deliver caffeine straight to our bodies. With hard core names such as FULL THROTTLE, RED RAIN, RED BULL, GURU & NOS its hard not to be attracted to these colorful bottles when looking for a quick fix. Not to mention their enticing promises of “temporarily restoring mental alertness or wakefulness when experiencing fatigue or drowsiness”. On top of describing themselves as “Natural Health Products”, they give recommended doses to their users thus continuing the facade that these products are medicinal. The ONLY therapeutic thing about these products is the exercise your arm will perform when raising these enormous bottles and cans to your lips- the serving sizes will vary from one cup to one litre!!!

A regular cup of drip coffee will contain anywhere from 80 to 150mg of caffeine, and in general, one cup (250ml) of these energy drinks will contain the same amount. The problem is that these drinks do not come in 250ml formats. The real difference between a cup of coffee and these beverages is the sugar content- a plain cup of joe contains no sugar while these drinks contain as much sugar as a regular soft drink (unless of course they are artificially sweetened).
Forget the empty calories, and even the fact that people are relying on these beverages for energy (rather than trying to get a good nights sleep!); drinking too much caffeine may actually make you more tired! Lets look at the facts:
-It takes about 6 hours for caffeine to be flushed out of your system which means that that late night coffee may actually hinder the little sleep you do get
-Despite the boost in short term “performance”, caffeine tends to trigger an energy crash hours after its effects have worn off
-We tend to sleep less when we are stressed and anxious, and large amounts of caffeine can promote anxiousness and agitation.

So how do we boost energy levels and help reduce stress through nutrition?
-Drinking plenty of water: dehydration can increase feelings of fatigue and drowsiness
-Avoiding binging on junk food: you won’t supply your body with the need vitamins and minerals AND the blasts of sugar to the blood are often more fatiguing then they are energizing
-Eating 3 meals a day: energy levels are best kept high all day when your body is getting a constant supply of food
-Trying to sleep 8hrs at night: no explanation needed!
-Exercising regularly: even just taking a few 10 minute walks during the day will help you sleep and decrease stress.