Many Americans rely on caffeine to get them through the day. In fact, three out of four caffeine users say they drink it every day. And while there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to an afternoon treat, it’s worth being aware of the health effects of the drinks you’re putting in your body. As it turns out, there’s one popular option that could be putting your gut health at risk as a result. Very high sugar contentWith caffeine: energy drinks.
To understand how energy drinks affect your digestive system, we spoke to you. Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN. She gave us a brief overview of how caffeine affects your gut. Read on to learn more about this, as well as the role sugar plays in digestion.
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Sometimes you just need a little caffeine – unfortunately, most caffeinated drink options can be very harmful to your overall health, especially your digestive system. One of the worst offenders is sugary energy drinks.
If you struggle with your gut health, energy drinks like Monster and Red Bull are working against you for two reasons: their sugar content and their caffeine content. Although we can all appreciate a little caffeine to keep us going every now and then, Harris-Pincus warns that caffeinated drinks can “cause bloating, flatulence, increased bowel movements and diarrhea.”
It’s not just the physical effects of caffeine that cause damage to your gut. As you can see, there is a strong connection between your nervous system and your digestive system. And as anyone who’s had too much caffeine can tell you, an excess of this stimulant can fuel anxiety and depression. According to Harris-Pincus, “it creates anxiety and increases anxiety, which can worsen symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).” Blame it!
Then there’s the matter of all that sugar in addition to caffeine. Refined sugar is an extremely inflammatory substance and can cause various health problems, including intestinal dysbiosis. And unfortunately, your typical energy drink actually contains the sweet stuff. For example, a can of Monster contains 27 grams of sugar. Over time, regular consumption of this drink feeds the bad bacteria in your gut, disrupting the microbiome balance and causing digestive issues like bloating, diarrhea, gas and more – not to mention weight gain.
What to drink instead
So what are your options when you want a quick caffeine boost but don’t want to subject your body to the health risks of energy drinks? Although it may not be as pleasant to your taste buds, you can always go with black coffee instead – or green tea, which is full of antioxidants and is very good for you. Starting a Red Bull habit may seem difficult at first, but trust us, it will pay off in the long run, especially if you want to improve your gut health.