Foods Adding "Energizing" Ingredients

Every so often you may go looking for a boost. Sometimes you turn to a cup of coffee or a brisk walk, but you may be tempted to reach for an extra stimulant. Be wary.

Every so often you may go looking for a boost. Sometimes you turn to a cup of coffee or a brisk walk, but you may be tempted to reach for an extra stimulant.

The market is laden with energy drinks such as Venom, Cocaine and WhoopAss. These beverages contain high amounts of caffeine, amino acids and dangerous amounts of legal (yet non FDA-regulated) stimulants such as guarana and ginseng. Although these supplements claim to be “energy enhancers,” there is limited evidence that energy drinks increase mental and physical performance.

Guarana, also known as Brazilian cocoa, is a plant common to Brazil. It naturally contains three to five times more caffeine than any other plant. Though considered safe for most adults, the high amount of caffeine in the plant may cause insomnia, irritability, stomach irritation, increased heart rate and blood pressure and tremors. Ginseng is an herb which seems to lower blood sugar. Safety of long-term use is questionable and carries the same side effects as guarana.

There is even the 5 Hour Energy® drink that claims to keep you awake without calories and sugar. With a blend of B-vitamins, numerous amino acids, caffeine and other ingredients, who knows what the combination of these ingredients can do to your body? To make matters worse, the safety of them is highly questionable.

If you think the world of energizing ingredients couldn’t go any further, think again. Companies are now adding stimulants to foods. Between January 1 and May 5 of last year, 70 new foods hit U.S. markets that were supposed to increase “energy.” Caffeine is now added to energy bars, chips, sunflower seeds and even instant oatmeal. You can also suck on some energy mints containing ginseng, caffeine and B-vitamins.

Bottom Line: Steer clear of these hyped-up concoctions and save your money. Look for the most natural sources of energy -- fresh fruits and vegetables, regular sleep and exercise.

Next Up

Small Steps: Adding Fruit

Making significant changes to your diet takes time and baby steps. Deciding which small steps to focus on is up to you. We’ve told you how to up your fluid intake—now it’s time for more fruit. Do you eat enough of nature’s candy? Most folks don’t.

All-Star Comfort Food Ingredients

This gallery of All-Star Comfort Food Ingredients rounds up sweet and savory staples that you’ll want to stock in the pantry and fridge so they’re on hand when you’re craving comfort food. What did we miss?

What Food Network Staffers Are Adding to Their Grain Bowls

A little crunch and a pop of flavor go a long way.

Vinegar: Boost Flavor Without Adding Fat

Vinegar one powerful item to keep stocked in your kitchen -- it adds big flavor without fat to recipes, and is thought to have medicinal properties as well.

Adding the Yum Factor to Gluten-Free Cooking

Erin Scott's passion for creative cooking and her determination to make "flavorful, seasonal, food that just tastes good" has spawned Yummy Supper: 100 Fresh, Luscious & Honest Recipes from a {Gluten-Free} Omnivore,

WATCH: Food Network Stars Reveal Their Nightmare Chopped Ingredients

Food Network stars share their nightmare Chopped ingredients. What would be your nightmare ingredient?

Secret Ingredient Sides

Jazz up your Turkey Day sides with unexpected ingredients. Forget same old, same old sides, The Kitchen's got three new ideas to perk up your Thanksgiving feast.

Baking Ingredient Guide

What you need to know about flour, sugar, chocolate and other pantry staples.

Seasonal Ingredient Apothecary

Beets, greens, winter squash, Brussels sprouts and apples are at their peak of freshness and nutrition. Learn what makes these vegetables super healthy and what to cook with them.

Related Pages