Last Updated on March 14, 2021 by admin
You’re at least marginally familiar with the nutrition label of your favorite energy drink, so you know that a serving doesn’t contain that many calories. That’s why it’s weird that a friend of yours told you that energy drinks can make you gain weight. Is it true?
Yes, energy drinks can make you gain weight. Although the average energy drink doesn’t have many calories, it’s bogged down with sugar, sometimes your whole recommended allotment in just one can. It’s the sugar that can contribute to weight gain, especially if you’re a regular drinker of energy beverages.
Okay, but are there any energy drinks out there that might make it easy to lose weight? Perhaps the sugar-free ones? In today’s article, we’ll answer those questions and more. You’re not going to want to miss it.
Can Energy Drinks Make You Gain Weight? How?
It’s normal for many consumers to look at the calories in a food or beverage and not much else. If you were to glance at your energy drink’s nutritional label with those same blinders, then the beverage seems fine to consume.
After all, Rockstar has 140 calories in an 8-fluid ounce serving. Red Bull contains 168 calories in a 12-ounce can. A can of Monster is 101 calories. Sure, these aren’t low-calorie beverages, but you’re not exactly ingesting 300 or 400 calories per can.
Do not miss our article: Are Energy Drinks Vegan?
As we said in the intro, part of the problem with energy drinks is the calories, but the bigger issue is all the sugar. According to a 2017 publication of Nutrients, ingesting sugar can create metabolic issues, increase insulin resistance, and add more fat to the liver and abdomen. You’ll pack on the pounds more easily as well.
Sugar is supposed to be a small part of your daily food consumption, with the recommended limit between 24 and 36 grams. Rockstar already surpasses that limit in one can, which has 29.4 grams of sugar. Monster is over the limit too at 27 grams of sugar per serving. Red Bull is the biggest offender of all, with each can containing a whopping 37 grams of sugar.
If you had maybe one can of energy drink a day, watched your sugar intake, and exercised regularly, you might be able to avoid gaining weight. Yet many people don’t stop at just one energy drink.
Why? For several reasons. The addictive qualities of sugar and caffeine make it hard to give up either ingredient, as uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms follow when you do. Also, if you’re consuming an energy drink, it’s likely because you want to focus on a big project or important task. The concentration you get through the caffeine lasts for an hour, then you crash. To keep your energy afloat, you’ll keep drinking throughout the day.
So sure, a single can of Monster isn’t 300 or 400 calories, but three or four cans is. You’ve also ingested 108 grams of sugar at that point, which is 4.5 times the recommended limit!
Can You Consume Energy Drinks for Weight Loss?
What if you switched to a different energy drink brand? Could you lose weight by sipping on a sugar-free energy drink?
Theoretically, you can. Your resting energy expenditure and metabolic rate both go up as the caffeine in your bloodstream activates the brain and the pituitary gland, causing a higher heart rate, dilated pupils, and even more concentration, at least for a little while.
Some studies even suggest that caffeine can help you burn more fat when exercising, stay focused, and boost your performance. This classic Journal of Applied Physiology report is one such piece of data.
However, make sure you read the details of that study carefully. The participants didn’t consume much caffeine, between 3 and 9 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. So if you weighed 200 pounds and drank 3 mg/kg, that’s 66.6 milligrams of caffeine, which is less caffeine than what’s in any of today’s energy drinks.
Drinking caffeine and then engaging in physical fitness can be quite problematic, especially if that caffeine comes from an energy drink. We’ve talked about this before on the blog, but it’s worth mentioning again now.
Caffeine acts as a diuretic, which means it makes you urinate more often. When you urinate, you lose fluids, including water. Exercise causes you to lose fluids too. By combining exercise with caffeine intake, you could end up dehydrated very quickly.
Plus, you’re going to crash from the caffeine inevitably. If you’re still exercising when that happens, the above benefits of more focus and better performance are erased. You’ll find it hard to concentrate and your movements and stamina will be sluggish. That won’t be a very productive workout.
If you want to lose weight, you won’t find the magic bullet in a can of Red Bull or Rockstar, even the sugar-free kind. You’ll need to cut back on sugars and carbs and get more exercise, preferably without the caffeine.
Energy drinks aren’t calorie bombs if you drink one can, but after a few, you’re ingesting a significant number of calories. Considering that most energy drinks have as much sugar as you should drink in a day, doubling or tripling your energy drink consumption will almost certainly lead to weight gain.
Even the sugar-free energy drinks aren’t great, as caffeine can cause crashes and dehydration. Losing weight the right way, through diet and exercise, will always be your safest and most surefire option.