Saturday, March 15, 2008

Energy drinks will rot your teeth.....

Popular Energy Drinks Cause Tooth Erosion, Study Shows

I was thinking of this study today while watching the 6 nations rugby matches, the cameras often showing the players slurping down bright blue (!) Powerade. I've posted before about some of the dodgy science behind these energy drinks.

Art DeVany also had something good:

You are slightly insulin resistant after a work out because growth hormone is an antagonist of insulin. Hence, any glucose that makes it into your blood stream will not be well-controlled and you will have excessive blood glucose, with all the consequences that this entails. It will be a mild form of elevated blood glucose, but it will be there nonetheless and it is to be avoided. Sports and gainer drinks are sold on the theory that exercise drains glycogen from the muscles and you must refill those stores. Nonsense. You want to drain the glycogen from your muscles, which you do through the glycolytic exercises that are part of the Evolutionary Fitness workout. One reason (and it may be the primary reason) people become insulin resistant and diabetic is because they never drain their muscles of glycogen and other energy stores. Muscle is the most insulin sensitive tissue in the body and you must have lots of it and drain it so that it retains its sensitivity and ability to soak up glucose from the blood stream. Replentishing muscle glycogen rapidly requires the ingestion of glucose in large doses. Once you compensate for the drained glycogen by refilling the muscle you lose the insulin sensitivity which the exercise produced. Athletes who supercompensate through carbohydrate loading to increase the glycogen content of their muscles, diminish their insulin sensitivity. Those who do no exercise have lower insulin sensitivity than more active individuals.

It is the progressive loss of insulin sensitivity that initiates the aging cascade. Aging becomes accelerated with diminishing insulin sensitivity as abdominal obesity begins to develop and glucose-triggered advanced glycation end products begin to accumulate. One of the main purposes of exercise is to enhance insulin sensitivity. When you ingest the gainer and replentishment drinks or attempt the supercompensation practiced by some endurance athletes (which was one of the things that started the pasta craze during the Berlin Olympics, a practice that has now been abandoned by elite athletes) you lose the sensitivity that was the objective of the exercise. You may even be worse off if you work out and practice compensation than had you just taken a walk.

The popularity of sports drinks and gainer protein supplements has a shred of physiology behind it and billions of dollars of commercial interest. These drinks and supplements rest on a reasonable physiological principle that is blown out of proportion into a vast business that has adverse health consequences. They destroy your insulin sensitivity and diminish the beneficial effects of exercise on sensitivity and total insulin action. They are also a source of excess calories that allows your growing insulin resistence to result in abdominal obesity over time. Sensitivity was one of the main objectives of the exercise in the first place. So, you nullify what is perhaps the most important benefit of the exercise. You definitely do not need the elevated blood glucose that comes from the many post work out drinks and bars that are sold out there.

Paradoxically, ingesting simple carbohydrates after a work out will cause an increase in your blood triglycerides (fats). This is because the growth hormone released by the work out releases fatty acids into the blood stream in preparation for using them as a source of energy to rebuild the muscle's energy stores and to fuel the clearance of damaged muscle cells. When blood glucose become elevated after the sports or other drink or bar, the body switches from using fat to using glucose, insulin is released in response to this and the effectiveness of growth hormone is diminished. The free fatty acids remain in suspension until the insulin response is strong enough to cause the fats to reesterfy and move back into adipose tissues. In the competition between fatty acids and glucose for scarce disposal pathways, glucose wins and the fat is left behind in the bloodstream where it can then precipitate onto the lining or enter the epythelium, with the help of insulin.

Another reason not to consume sports drinks is that they keep your sweet tooth alive and well. Sports drinks taste very sweet to someone like myself who consumes glucose so rarely that when I find it in a drink or food I am aware of it and find that it tastes peculiar and unpalatable. Small amounts of sugar produce a cloying taste response in me when they are not even noticed by others. Let's face it, every mass produced drink or manufactured food item has to be sweet in order to sell to the bulk of people whose food contains sugar in some form. They wouldn't sell if they didn't appeal to mass tastes that have already been conditioned to expect salt and sugar and fat. And it is an evolved adaptation to find glucose pleasant tasting. The brain lives on glucose for its energy and tastes evolved during a time when glucose was scarce. Take an energy-hungry brain that had to be protected during a time when glucose was scarce and you get a human animal with a strong preference for sweet substances.


Peter said...

Hi Chris,

Excellent quote from Art DeVany, nice summary.

Now I'm using minimal glucose as the primary sweetener in my cocoa, when I run out of glucose and have a dose or two of sucrose (I'm talking about 1.0g in 1/2 a pint here), the taste is very specific and quite different from glucose. Cloying sums it up well. Unpleasant. And that's without any blue die (I mean dye, oops).


Scott Kustes said...

Hey Chris,
Nice find on DeVany's site. I saw that energy drinks thing this morning. I have an acquaintance that is going to work for Monster (energy drinks, not the career site) and he said they are coming out with a 32oz can. 32oz! That's 320 mg of caffeine if they keep the same formulation. Ridiculous. Anyway, I wrote an article a week or so ago called Pondering Energy Drinks and the Fatigue of a Nation. There's my take on the caffeine addiction.

Scott Kustes
Modern Forager

Chris said...

Peter and Scott - thanks for the comments

Anonymous said...

I believe this can be primarily to citric acid.

Mike OD said...

Funny how people think they need to eat and drink just like professional athletes, when most don't have1/100th the activity level. Also if you get your body more "fat adapted" metabolism then you will have less reliance on glucose and more on all that fat we have inside of us. We have enough stored glycogen for short bursts of energy, we don't need those drinks...but alas their marketing budget is much larger than mine.