Do Sugar and Caffeine Really Boost Energy?
With the deadline looming and with the certainty of doing overtime tonight, you quickly grab a cup of coffee or candy bar to stay alert and energized. After some time, you experience a mental “high” and type away at the keyboard, determined to finish the report. A few hours later, though, you suddenly feel a drop in your energy. So you reach for that candy bar or chocolate again. And the whole cycle starts again.
Ever wonder why this happens? Because caffeine and sugar do not really increase energy. They give you a temporary high or energy boost, yes, but in the long run, they can actually make you tired – ironically, more tired than before you bit into that candy bar or took your first sip of coffee.
Caffeine is not really all bad. Taken moderately, some people report thinking and concentrating better. However, when taken more than a person’s tolerance, the temporary high is followed by mild withdrawal symptoms like fatigue. Coffee, as a diuretic, can lead to dehydration, which in turn can cause fatigue. Because people have different tolerance levels of coffee, you should know first what is your “moderate intake” and stick to it.
Sugar, on the other hand, is high in carbohydrates, supposedly an energy fuel, but has a different effect from the usual carbohydrates. While carbohydrates in starch form gradually releases into glucose to the bloodstream, sugar is quickly absorbed in the blood, resulting to a sudden rise in blood sugar. The pancreas releases insulin to counter this rise, thereby bringing excess sugar from the blood to the cells. Thus, blood sugar drops, sometimes in levels lower than before you bit into that candy bar.
So, the next time you feel like getting your usual caffeine or sugar fix during a crunch, think again – is it really worth it?