Spark energy drinks contain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, caffeine and the sugar substitute sucralose, as well as natural colors and natural and artificial flavors. Energy drinks in general aren't considered all that healthy and have some potential risks, mainly due to their high caffeine content, according to an article published in Frontiers in Public Health in October 2014. If you like these beverages, they are fine in moderation, but there are also plenty of other ways to increase your energy.
Healthier Caffeinated Beverages
Each serving of Spark has 120 milligrams of caffeine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration notes that a moderate caffeine consumption of 100 to 200 milligrams per day isn't likely to be harmful, but that each person's caffeine tolerance varies. Getting 600 milligrams or more of caffeine, however, isn't recommended. While caffeine may give you a quick burst of energy, people tend to crash and feel worse than ever a couple hours later.
Green tea is a healthier alternative if you feel the need for a caffeinated beverage, as it may lower your risk for heart disease and cancer and has a lot less caffeine than energy drinks or coffee. Each cup has between 35 and 60 milligrams of caffeine. If you prefer a cold beverage, try unsweetened iced tea. Even coffee can be a better alternative than energy drinks, with between 75 and 150 milligrams of caffeine per cup.
Caffeine-Free Beverage Alternatives
Sometimes people lack energy because they're dehydrated, and any beverage can increase energy when this is the case. The healthiest alternative to energy drinks may be water, as it doesn't add any calories and can quickly hydrate you. If you don't love plain water, try adding fruit slices or a squeeze of citrus juice to give it more flavor.
Smoothies or protein shakes can also be nutritious alternatives, providing vitamins and minerals as well as a mix of protein and carbohydrates. This combination is best for boosting your energy. A mix of yogurt, fruit, spinach and a liquid, such as milk or a milk alternative, will give you a healthy smoothie. Just watch your serving size to avoid getting too many extra calories from beverages.
Skipping breakfast can be a cause of sluggishness, so be sure to eat it each morning. Whole-grain toast with peanut butter and a banana or yogurt mixed with nuts and fruit are both nutritious but relatively quick options. If you find your energy lagging in the middle of the afternoon or after your workout, have a meal or snack containing a mix of carbohydrates and protein. Carbohydrates containing fiber help keep you full for longer and stabilize your blood sugar, while lean protein foods can help improve your alertness and focus.
Instead of boosting your energy with caffeinated energy drinks, such as Spark, make a couple lifestyle changes that will boost your energy naturally. Get plenty of sleep each night so you're not overtired the next day. If you're always tired, try moving your bedtime back by half an hour to see if this helps. If you don't get enough sleep one night, try a 15-minute catnap the next afternoon to improve your energy levels. Another way to get more energy is to make a little time for some moderate exercise, such as biking, walking or taking a yoga class.
- Advocare: AdvoCare Spark
- Frontiers in Public Health: Energy Drink Consumption in Europe: A Review of the Risks, Adverse Health Effects, and Policy Options to Respond
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Medicines in my Home: Caffeine and Your Body
- Entrepreneur: 4 Healthy Alternatives to Energy Drinks
- University Hospitals: Why You Need to Quit Energy Drinks – and 4 Healthier Alternatives
- The Northwestern: Healthy Oshkosh: Get a Boost From Energy Drink Alternatives
- University of Maryland Campus Recreation Services: Better Energy Drink Alternatives
- University of Florida Extension: Facts About Energy Drinks
- Center for Science in the Public Interest: Caffeine Content of Food & Drugs