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What You Never Thought About When Drinking Energy Drinks

What You Never Thought About When Drinking Energy Drinks

Do you often feel tired, groggy, or have trouble focusing? Do you struggle to make it through the day? If so, you’re not alone. A growing number of people are turning to energy drinks as a pick-me-up. Though energy drinks have gained a tremendous amount of popularity over the years, have you ever taken the time to read what goes into them? If not, you may be surprised to learn what you’re really putting into your body.Due to their high levels of caffeine and other metabolic-boosting ingredients, energy drinks have been found to have numerous side effects. They can raise your blood pressure, boost your heart rate, cause sleeplessness, and have even been linked to disturbing your heart’s natural rhythm.  Though a lot of people chug energy drinks like water, this is not what they are intended for. Energy drinks have not been found to cause any serious side-effects when used in moderation; however, when they become a staple in your everyday routine, they can open the door to a host of negative effects.

What Energy Drinks Really Are

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    Starting with Red Bull’s tepid introduction to the U.S. in the late 1990s, energy drinks have gained a tremendous amount of steam—largely because most energy drinks were originally marketed as dietary supplements. As such, they were virtually free from FDA regulations.  Because those energy drinks weren’t forced to include the caffeine content and other ingredients on their cans, people naturally assumed that these drinks were perfectly safe.  Unfortunately, this wasn’t particularly true, as a growing number of deaths have since been attributed to heart-related issues caused by energy drinks. Check this website for further information on caffeine levels and the various problems energy drinks have had on the public.

    Beware of Sugar-Free Drinks

    Most energy drinks contain a laundry list of ingredients you have never heard of. Although most energy drinks include herbs and natural ingredients like ginseng or gingko balboa, they also contain a lot of artificial ones too. Many promote themselves as having no sugar. What they neglect to inform you of, however, is the artificial ingredient used in sugar’s place.  Sugarless energy drinks usually use either aspartame or sucralose as an artificial sweetener.  Both are relatively new sweeteners, and both raise a growing number of health and safety concerns. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has recently downgraded sucralose’s use from “safe” to “caution”, stating it should be avoided and “may pose a risk and needs to be better tested.”  Here’s a great chart that easily outlines the sweetener type in popular diet drinks.  Although sugar may not be healthy, at least it’s natural, and as such, it’s much safer than its artificial counterparts.

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      Energy drinks like to tout words like “all natural” or pride themselves on having natural sources of caffeine.  While this may sound good on paper, the truth is very different.  Energy drinks that say they are all natural usually get their caffeine from guarana, a seed from a South American plant which is almost identical to the coffee bean. Now get this: guarana seeds contain more than twice the amount of caffeine as coffee beans do. So although your drink does not contain coffee, it’s usually just as strong—if not stronger—than the average cup of Joe.  The level of advisable caffeine content varies per individual, so you should only consume energy drinks occasionally if you have noticed any kind of sensitivity to caffeine.

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      The Negative Effects of Energy Drinks and How to Avoid Them

      Energy drinks should be consumed in moderation, and never used in place of physical activity.  They naturally raise your heart rate, and coupled with strenuous physical activity, they can greatly damage your health.  It’s important to always read the labels that list the ingredients on energy drinks. If there’s an ingredient you can’t pronounce, think about drinking something else instead.  Remember that natural ingredients are always better than their artificial counterparts, and that sucralose and aspartame are not adequate substitutes. Also keep in mind that coffee, one of the most widely-consumed drinks in the world, naturally only contains one ingredient.

      From mild side effects to potentially lethal consequences, energy drinks should not be taken lightly. They may get the job done, but it’s a toss-up whether or not they’re really worth it.  If you’re among the millions of Americans who consume energy drinks on a daily basis, remember to drink in moderation.

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      Last Updated on June 20, 2019

      Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

      Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

      There’s nothing quite like picking up a guitar and strumming out some chords. Listening to someone playing the guitar can be mesmerising, it can evoke emotion and a good guitar riff can bring out the best of a song. Many guitar players find a soothing, meditative quality to playing, along with the essence of creating music or busting out an acoustic version of their favourite song. But how does playing the guitar affect the brain?

      More and more scientific studies have been looking into how people who play the guitar have different brain functions compared to those who don’t. What they found was quite astonishing and backed up what many guitarists may instinctively know deep down.

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      Guitar Players’ Brains Can Synchronise

      You didn’t read that wrong! Yes, a 2012 study[1] was conducted in Berlin that looked at the brains of guitar players. The researchers took 12 pairs of players and got them to play the same piece of music while having their brains scanned.

      During the experiment, they found something extraordinary happening to each pair of participants – their brains were synchronising with each other. So what does this mean? Well, the neural networks found in the areas of the brain associated with social cognition and music production were most activated when the participants were playing their instruments. In other words, their ability to connect with each other while playing music was exceptionally strong.

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      Guitar Players Have a Higher Intuition

      Intuition is described as “the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning” and this is exactly what’s happening when two people are playing the guitar together.

      The ability to synchronise their brains with each other, stems from this developed intuitive talent indicating that guitar players have a definite spiritual dexterity to them. Not only do their brains synchronise with another player, but they can also even anticipate what is to come before and after a set of chords without consciously knowing. This explains witnessing a certain ‘chemistry’ between players in a band and why many bands include brothers who may have an even stronger connection.

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      This phenomenon is actually thought to be down to the way guitarists learn how to play – while many musicians learn through reading sheet music, guitar players learn more from listening to others play and feeling their way through the chords. This also shows guitarists have exceptional improvisational skills[2] and quick thinking.

      Guitar Players Use More of Their Creative, Unconscious Brain

      The same study carried out a different experiment, this time while solo guitarists were shredding. They found that experienced guitar players were found to deactivate the conscious part of their brain extremely easily meaning they were able to activate the unconscious, creative and less practical way of thinking more efficiently.

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      This particular area of the brain – the right temporoparietal junction – typically deactivates with ‘long term goal orientation’ in order to stop distractions to get goals accomplished. This was in contrast to the non-guitarists who were unable to shut off the conscious part of their brain which meant they were consciously thinking more about what they were playing.

      This isn’t to say that this unconscious way of playing can’t be learnt. Since the brain’s plasticity allows new connections to be made depending on repeated practice, the guitar player’s brain can be developed over time but it’s something about playing the guitar in particular that allows this magic to happen.

      Conclusion

      While we all know musicians have very quick and creative brains, it seems guitar players have that extra special something. Call it heightened intuition or even a spiritual element – either way, it’s proven that guitarists are an exceptional breed unto themselves!

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      Featured photo credit: Lechon Kirb via unsplash.com

      Reference

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