Energy drinks and protein drinks are seemingly quite popular with athletes, fitness enthusiasts, health nuts, and the guy/girl next door. Everyone has his or her own preference for a morning, afternoon, pre- or post-workout pick-me-up or refueling beverage to keep muscles strong and to keep energy at an all-time high.
With so many options out there, how do you choose the right energy or protein drink that has the healthiest options for proper refueling and re-energizing? Let’s find out.
An energy drink refers to a beverage that contains caffeine in combination with other ingredients such as taurine, guarana, and B vitamins, and that claims to provide its consumers with extra energy, according to nutritional experts at UC Davis. Most people look to consume energy drinks to do one of the following things: provide a boost in energy, promote wakefulness, maintain alertness, and provide cognitive and mood enhancement. Sound familiar?
Most energy drinks have a good amount of caffeine along with a multitude of other stimulants, like sugar and guarana, for example, that enhance the effects of caffeine. So when consuming energy drinks, be mindful to only have the recommended serving amount limiting your daily caffeine intake to less than 400 mg per day, to avoid adverse effects.
The best energy drinks are, of course, the ones that have the least amount of ingredients and derived from whole, nutrient-dense foods to fuel your body with the natural energy it needs to thrive. A blended up smoothie with a mix of healthy vegetables and fruits is a great option for added energy, as is a black cup of coffee or black tea to provide a little added caffeine support.
When you do go for a bottled energy drink, however, take a look at the nutrition label and list of ingredients to select an option with a lower amount of sugar and additives.
Protein drinks and supplemental powders are popular options to ensure enough protein is included in your daily diet. It’s also a great on-the-go style beverage that can be used as a meal replacement with the added benefits of protein and other nutrients.
Athletes and fitness enthusiasts choose protein drinks specifically to help refuel the body after an intense workout, provide muscles with added support for growth through a new or amplified training program, or possibly to help heal after recovering from an injury.
There are many types of protein powders on the market including whey, casein, egg white, soy, pea, hemp, and more. Choosing the right one really depends on your personal health goals and dietary restrictions, but always look for protein drinks or powders with the least amount of extra additives for your healthiest option. An even better choice: protein straight from whole, nutrient-dense foods like lean meats or eggs.