Gotta cracking question from a friend of mines in the Army.
He’s noticed a large increase in consumption of ‘zero’ version energy drinks amongst the men in camp, like ‘Monster zero ultra’.
And he’s wondering if these no sugar, low-calorie options are actually any better or just another can of problems waiting to happen?
I’d personally never tried them before, so I had one yesterday and had one of the best workouts of my life.
(barely slept a wink last night, mid you)
I consulted with some other nutrition coaches, got their opinions then looked at some of the research. And there’s a LOT to consider, here.
So I’ll break this down as simply as possible. Let’s start with the cons…
This can be good AND bad. In most cases, you really can’t beat a good old caffeine hit to kick-start your morning. Or pre-workout. But these things have 150mg of the stuff (That’s 160% of the content in your morning coffee).
So if you’re already a regular coffee drinker? (I know a ton of squaddies normally are) And having these things too often on the daily? There’s a good chance you’re taking on too much for your own good.
Although under 400mg of caffeine per day is considered ‘safe’, however, there’s a difference between ‘safe’ and healthy. Which is gonna be different for everyone.
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From personal experience… I quit drinking coffee altogether because I’m one of those guys who’s very, very sensitive to it. One coffee and I’m absolutely FLYING. It also f*cks with my personality, too. In the sense that… I can be a massive c*nt. Moody, angry and just no fun to be around.
One can of Monster yesterday sent me through the roof. Sure, I had the best workout of my life, but later, Leanne asked if I’d been “taking something dodgy?”
And I never got much sleep last night either. Which isn’t gonna help me today in many areas.
Caffeine is SUPER addictive and this stuff gets 10/10 from me on taste. In fact, I felt myself craving another can almost immediately after the first one. It took me having a serious word with myself to not fold for a second
So I can see how this can easily be overconsumed. The problem here is…
When you’re used to having it in your body, it stops having the same effect after a while so you need MORE of it to create that surge it used to give you. A classic example of when more really isn’t better (as far as your health is concerned).
I’m sticking these in the ‘cons’ list because they are what they are…
And although, There’s not enough thorough data to show the negative effects on human consumption. I don’t believe them to be health beneficial. Nor am I totally convinced they’re completely harmless, either.
But this all comes down to personal values and standards. I wouldn’t consume them too often
Cus I’ve got a ‘real foods first’ approach 90% of the time. But if I’m at the cinema on a Saturday night? I’ll not think twice about enjoying a diet coke
Because there’s no calories or sugar and it keeps me right with my body goals. It’s also damn tasty, too.
It’s not very often I do drink them. And let’s face it… There’s a lot worse things we can put in our bodies on a Saturday night.
Having said that, though…
If you have issues with headaches, migraines or high blood pressure, you might wanna look into this further.
(I’ll link another article in the PS section)
^^ Exactly what it claims on the tin. An undeniable feeling 10 Xing your current state of ‘readiness’
Because I felt it yesterday and it was outstanding. I was ready to do my workout twice over (and it was leg-day too).
It was great. So if you’re ever in need of a vital ‘pick me up’?
It’s got you covered
Unlike the sugar-filled versions. These options will keep you right in your fat loss journey. Or keep from taking on board more unwanted calories than you need
Plus, keep your general sugar consumption down. So it’s all good
Like I said before. This gets 10/10 from me on taste. It was awesome
And a helluva lot more enjoyable than, say…
A black coffee
In the grand scheme of things. I’ll personally choose NOT to use them.
That’s just me, though. I believe these things are totally fine IF you’re using them wisely
By wisely, I mean…
Maybe 2-3 times per week max to deliver a specific purpose…
> Pre-workout (when you’re not feeling on top of your game)
> And like-wise… When you’ve got a big work-load and need a little extra back-up
But if you’re jugging them back every day for the hell of it?
Or if you’re feeling a little ‘dependant’ on it?
Cus I know that…
1/ Soldiers are good at going hard on most things in life
2/ A lot of my civilian clients with busy jobs ‘used’ to drink a minimum of 2 cans of Redbull daily PLUS multiple coffees
(Which aren’t needed at all after addressing some simple lifestyle issues)
Then I’d ask yourself WHY you’re doing it. And maybe reevaluate things…
Cus if you DO struggle with energy on a day to day basis?
There’s always some lifestyle improvements to fix that, and you’ll likely never get in good shape, or feel good until you do.
Energy drinks will be a great short-term fix. But they’ll also make things worse if you don’t look after yourself, by making you feel more dependent, overconsuming, and screwing with your ability to sleep, amongst other problems.
Which is the start of a downward spiral
PS. If you want to learn more, here are some links to a couple of solid articles from a reliable source:
Dean McMenamin is an Army veteran, father, dog-lover and online nutrition & exercise coach helping busy men transform their bodies, regain self-confidence and be healthier role models for their kids. He's also a big eater of ice-cream.