Water beats energy drinks

Energy drinks, advertised as boosting athletic performance, are truly effective in a few endurance sports only, according to Ingo Froboese, a professor at the Health Centre of the German Sport University in Cologne.

He said that the energy kick they provided was helpful in the final 30 minutes of marathons and in bicycle races, for example.

"Otherwise don't bother with them," Froboese advised.

High in calories

Energy drinks typically contain sugar, the primary energy source; caffeine, which is a stimulant; and taurine, an amino acid that helps regulate the level of water and mineral salts in the blood. As thirst quenchers the drinks are extremely high in calories, with about 125 and more per serving.

"To bolster physical performance during training or athletic competition, the best choice is water without carbonation or in combination with high-quality fruit juices," Froboese said.

People with high blood pressure or cardiovascular conditions should consume energy drinks only occasionally. For children, pregnant or nursing women and people sensitive to caffeine, the drinks are inadvisable. - (Sapa/dpa, May 2010)

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