We all need a little pick-me-up sometimes, whether it’s later on in the workday or the morning after a rough night. To get that boost, a lot of people turn to energy drinks in hopes that they will be true to their names. But what do these concoctions actually do to our bodies in order to achieve the effect of boosting energy?

Quite a lot, according to Maria Pagano, M.S., R.D., C.S.C.S., and coach at Equinox. Pagano says the following are some of the effects energy drinks have on various parts of our bodies:

  • blocking adenosine, a chemical the brain produces to help us sleep
  • heightened adrenaline levels, causing the heart to beat faster
  • a spike in the blood’s glucose levels
  • increased dopamine levels, giving the brain the sensation that the body is being energized.

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It can take about 12 hours for the body to flush energy drinks out of our systems. That’s no surprise, given the fact that some energy drinks have up to 13 teaspoons of sugar in them and the caffeine content of four cups of coffee

So, what’s the downside? Well, energy drinks can be linked to a whole host of health problems, including: headaches, heart problems, tremors, stomach upset, chest pain, numbness, and insomnia. Yikes.

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In some instances, energy drinks have even been linked to deaths in the US and UK.

So next time you’re feeling sluggish, maybe skip reaching for the energy drink and take a nap instead. There’s no risk in those—unless, of course, your boss happens to catch you during one.

[via Q by EquinoxDaily Mail]