Energy Drinks: Study Says Caffeine is Only Effective Ingredient

New research uncovers ineffective ingredients in energy drinks

C’mon—you’ve tried the training and racing tricks: Ibuprofen racing (I don’t feel sore, at all!), beer muscles (I can lift ANYTHING!) and, of course, caffeine stamina. While caffeine’s overall effects on athletic performance—and whether or not it poses significant risks—is still debated by doctors, sports nutritionists and coaches, athletes all over the world have been known to rely on the stimulant for a pre-exercise kick (Just look at RedBull and its 39 web-page list of sponsored athletes).

But if you’ve been tempted to sip on an energy drink that boasts more “energy enhancements” than caffeine—including ingredients such as taurine, ginseng, B-vitamins, yerba mate and more—you’ve been swindled. According to a new review of studies published in Nutrition Reviews:

“With the exception of some weak evidence for glucose and guaraná extract, there is an overwhelming lack of evidence to substantiate claims that components of EDs, other than caffeine, contribute to the enhancement of physical or cognitive performance,” the authors conclude.

Not to mention that energy drinks are usually loaded with sugar—which slows the absorption of liquids into the body, potentially leaving you jittery and dehydrated.

Lesson? If you must rely on a stimulant, keep the extras out and stick to caffeine, and don’t forget plenty of good ol’ H2O.