Do energy drinks help you study?

Do energy drinks help you study?
It is commonly believed in western society that caffeine can temporarily boost cognitive performance, hence people often opt for a caffeinated drink when they need to perform to the best of their abilities. In the last two decades, there has been a dramatic increase in the consumption of energy drinks, especially among the younger generation.
What is it about these drinks that have us guzzling them down while writing essays or trying to cram for that last-minute exam?
Energy drinks are composed of different ingredients promoted by manufacturers as offering a variety of benefits: caffeine is among these ingredients, as a known central nervous system stimulating drug. Is it the caffeine that gives us that boost? If so why not just drink a coffee as there is widespread scientific agreement that caffeine improves basic cognitive functions such as simple reaction time; the effect on “higher” cognitive functions including problem solving, remains debatable.
However, studies suggest that improvements in concentration and altered physiological function after the consumption of energy drinks may in fact be attributed to other ingredients or combinations of ingredients, such as glucose and taurine, rather than caffeine. A study by Warburton, et al, 2001, testing the difference between a sugar-free drink versus a drink with equivalent amounts of glucose to 22.5mg of caffeine. The sugar drink was reported to create a significant difference to cognitive functions.
If science suggests that energy drinks can boost our cognitive performances, then why not drink up?
The World Health Organization (WHO), reviewed the literature associated with energy drinks and published their concerns about the health effects of energy drinks such as Red Bull and Monster. These concerns are related to, not limited to, caffeine overdoses, reduction in insulin sensitivity for type 2 diabetics, late miscarriages, poor dental health, and obesity.
The research concluded that the health risks are associated with the high caffeine content as often these drinks contain large quantities. More research is needed to evaluate the long-term effects of consuming energy drinks as the heavy consumption has gone unaddressed in young people.
What do you think? Does the benefit outweigh the risk for you?
I’ve used Red Bull before an exam based on the evidence for improved cognitive function. However, I would limit it to one can, as a student nutritionist, I cannot ignore the negative effects research suggests for overconsumption.
This leads me to my favourite saying, ‘everything in moderation’.

About Lisa McKeown 29 Articles
I'm a stage & screen writer who has become a fitness enthusiast on a lifestyle change. I fell in love with nutrition during this journey which has lead me to study Human Nutrition at university from September 2016. I am also a trained actress.

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