Are There Risks (or Benefits) to Energy Drinks?

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jeremy-greyI use to consume two, 16oz cans of Rockstar Organic Energy Drink, every day.  I’m active.  I train for running and triathlon races.  My diet is plant-based.  I look for healthy, organic food and beverage choices.

I would consume one can in the morning, and another in the early afternoon, totaling 400 calories, 92 grams of sugar, 320mg of caffeine and an undisclosed quantity of natural flavor and guarana extract (listed ingredients).  I did this for over a 12 month period.  The math is fun too … $1.50/can x 2 cans per day = $3 per day x 365 days = $1,095 per year.

Detailed blood work, completed every six months, did not indicate any concern.  However, I struggled with two primary goals: improved performance and weight loss.  In addition, I was experiencing on-going fatigue and issues with restful sleep.  My routine typically consisted of training on weekday afternoons and weekend mornings.

So I changed my behavior.

I discontinued my Rockstar energy drinks.  I began consuming a sugar-free energy drink, MTN OPS Ignite, which I drank pre-workout and again in the early afternoon.  I awoke around 5am, completed my 60-90+ minutes of morning training, drinking only water, and not eating until breakfast.  Over a six month period, I experienced great results, including increased performance and over 32.2 pounds fat loss, measured by repeated DEXA scans.

Jeremy Nicholes competing at the 2018 Best in the West Triathlon Festival

Time for another round of semi-annual blood work with the experts at BioLounge.  The results were outstanding.  For the first time, we processed a SpectraCell micronutrient test, which showed a few nutrient levels that could be bumped up slightly.  After consuming MTN Ops Ignite for six months and researching the ingredients in more detail, I decided to discontinue this beverage.  I was curious to see if sucralose, also known as Splenda, could be impacting my digestive biome.

Today, I currently supplement twice per day, in the morning and early afternoon, with one Integrative Therapeutics Active B Complex capsule and a 100mg caffeine tablet (if needed).  The improved results have continued.  A notable improvement in sleep quality and a reduction in overall fatigue has been experienced.  I will report further progress at the end of the current six-month protocol.

The meta-research analysis videos below, shared just this week by Dr. Michael Gregger and his team, align and support my experience.

Of course, my journey above is a study size of just “one.”  When it comes to training, nutrition, and life, the impacts do not come from changing a single variable (e.g. energy drinks), but the symphony of variables combining together to produce a result.

Please do not hesitate to post a comment or question below.  I would love to hear about your experience and your thoughts, on this topic.

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Detail, transcript and sources cited

Detail, transcript and sources cited

*Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

© 2018 Summit Outdoor Group LLC. All Rights Reserved

One Reply to “Are There Risks (or Benefits) to Energy Drinks?”

  1. I reached out to MTN OPS customer support to inquire about the exact amount of sucralose used in their product, MTN OPS Ignite. This was their response:

    – – – – –
    Re: Ingredient Question
    July 27, 2018 at 1:10 PM
    To: Jeremy Nicholes
    “We do apologize for the delayed response, we are currently waiting to here back from our manufacturer to confirm our number is indeed correct. We will get back to you as soon as we are fully confident in our answer. Thank you for your patience!”
    Robin Horne
    – – – – –

    After two weeks, I inquired if they had received a response from their manufacturer. No response. I know there are many reasonable explanations why they did not respond. That said, the fact MTN OPS did not trust the information on-hand, raised a number of concerns for me. Regardless if the number was astronomically low, or high, they weren’t confident and that really worries me.


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