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Better Ways to Get More Energy

Energy Drain: Caffeine and Energy Drinks

Caffeine is a stimulant that revs you up -- until it leaves your system and you crash. It's best to stay away from caffeine all together, and especially to avoid using energy drinks. You certainly should try not to get more than100 milligrams of caffeine a day, which is about how much you'll get in:

  • Two 12-ounce sodas
  • One 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee
  • One shot of espresso (used in coffee drinks like lattes and cappuccinos)

Downing more caffeine raises your risk of sleep troubles. And that can lead to a nasty cycle of being tired the next day only to turn to caffeine again to perk you up.

If you reach for energy drinks to keep you going, think about breaking the habit. Energy drinks may seem like a good idea, but you're likely to perk up only for a short time. Energy drinks are loaded with caffeine and as much sugar as a regular soda. When those wear off, your energy level will crash -- leaving you anxious, nervous, and restless. And too much caffeine can leave you dehydrated, which can make you feel sluggish and cause headaches.

Plus, there's no law requiring the amount of caffeine to be labeled in energy drinks, so you may not realize how much you're getting. In many cases, you could get four to five times the amount of caffeine compared to a can of cola. But in some cases, an energy drink could have as much as 14 times the amount of caffeine in a soda!

Energy Bump: Water

Make water your first choice of beverage for natural energy instead. A dehydrated body is a sluggish and spacey one, so drinking plenty of water will help keep you alert, focused, and moving easily. You should be drinking enough water so that your pee is barely yellow.

Water, which is naturally calorie-free, is cheap, too. Filling up a reusable water bottle will cut your costs and help save the planet.

What about sports drinks? Although they can help keep you hydrated, they have extra calories and sugar you don't need unless you're working out for more than an hour or are participating in an endurance sport like running.

When you feel yourself dragging, remember that you can increase energy without crashing later. The best natural energy comes from getting enough rest, being active, eating well, and drinking plenty of water.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on February 06, 2014
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