Why Energy Shots Are Terrible + Natural Alternatives

Have you seen the commercial where the people get up in the morning and act really groggy and instead of coffee, slam an energy shot? I'm not a fan of that commercial. Okay, you're all allowed to decide your morning vice, and mine is coffee. I love the taste, smell, heat and feeling it brings. I drink two cups. It's not going to kill me, and at least organic coffee is a real food.

The one time I tried an energy shot, I was one of the many unfortunate people who had a reaction to the huge dose of vitamin B3 (niacin), and I experienced a niacin flush that turned my face beet red and gave me a hot, prickly feeling for about an hour.

But that’s not the reason I don’t like them. The bottom line is that I’m not a fan of these silly shots because of the ingredients and what they stand for.

For any of you who have tried an energy shot or thought about it, let me tell you what’s wrong with them.

First, spend your money on real food, not fake food. The vitamins and minerals in energy shots are already contained in foods, such as apples, avocados, grains and nuts. Eat healthy and you get B vitamins.

Second, it’s an extreme amount of vitamin B6 and B12. B vitamins are water soluble — what you can’t use, you pee out — so no need to get 2000% and 8333% of the recommended daily value of B6 and B12, respectively, in one shot glass.

Third, I’m not a fan of the "other" ingredients:

Artificial flavors are simply chemical mixtures that mimic a natural flavor in some way. I don’t want to eat chemicals.

Sucralose is an artificial sugar. I try to avoid artificial sugars. In fact, there is controversy as to whether or not artificial sweeteners can raise blood sugar levels. You'll find supporting evidence for both sides of the story, but what’s most disturbing to me is the fact that artificial sweeteners are not natural and can cause a host of side effects depending on the person. In fact, some of the chemicals that comprise artificial sweeteners are known hazards —the degree to which you experience side effects just depends on your individual biochemistry.

Manufacturers are banking on the fact that our bodies won’t absorb very much of these compounds at any one time, and many of us don’t. But what happens when we're ingesting a combination of artificial sweeteners dozens of times a week through many different “low-sugar” or “sugar-free” products? The answer is yet to be determined. But I certainly don’t want my kids or me to be the test guinea pigs.

Sodium benzoate has a less than clean bill of health and is an ingredient in sodas. Sodium benzoate is a preservative used to inhibit the growth of yeasts, fungii and bacteria. It's also used to increase the shelf life of many soft drinks.

If you need some energy, grab a handful of nuts and a piece of fruit. Make a smoothie with greens and protein powder. Drink a fresh-squeezed juice. Eat a Greek yogurt with sunflower seeds. If you're on the go, grab a natural bar and wash it down with a glass of water. B vitamins are in fruits, veggies, meats, grains, dairy, so eat real food and drink water. Save your money and mind from the marketing hype! Get your energy in a healthy and natural way instead!

Ready to learn more about how to unlock the power of food to heal your body, prevent disease & achieve optimal health? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Kelly LeVeque.

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