Charge Up for Good Health

Do energy drinks really give you more energy? And are they healthy?

Do energy drinks really give you more energy? And are they healthy?

Consider this: Energy is a sneaky way of saying "calorie," and we all know how well a "calorie drink" would sell! Most so-called healthy energy and sports drinks are loaded with sugar and carbohydrates. In addition, many contain caffeine, which may provide some fleeting pep but can cause jitters and an unpleasant energy crash later.

What's more, sports drinks have proven to be more damaging to your teeth than soda due to a combination of acids and sugar. As if that isn't enough, these drinks can pack on extra pounds: Research has shown that when people wash down their food with a calorie-laden beverage, they don't decrease the amount of food they eat and end up consuming extra calories with their meal.

Instead of gulping a sugary energy drink when you're dragging, try a healthy cup of green tea (rich in metabolism-boosting antioxidants) or low-fat milk (a wholesome blend of electrolytes, calcium, magnesium and vitamin D -- plus a nice balance of carbohydrates and protein for real, lasting energy). In addition, consider munching on nutrition-filled, fiber-rich foods such as nuts and dried fruit, which can provide a steady source of stamina. The bottom line: The brief boost from an energy drink just isn't worth the extra sugar and empty calories.