Your preworkout could be damaging your health

Posted by Mark Webb on

The Truth About Preworkouts

Millions use preworkouts to boost energy and to increase circulation and athletic performance. Revenue from vitamin and nutritional supplement production reached nearly 31 billion dollars in the United States in 2019 and Preworkout supplements were number one selling in the sports nutrition category.  Despite this, the majority of preworkout formulas on the market could be causing more harm to your health than they are doing you good.

The fact is that most preworkout contain dangerously high levels of caffeine, sugar and artificial sweeteners, colors and petroleum based chemicals that have been linked to increasing your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer as well as other dangerous side effects.

Caffeine

More than 160mg of caffeine has been linked to early death. A Mayo Clinic partnered study found that men who drank more than four 8 fl.oz. cups of coffee had a 21% increase in all-cause mortality.  Some preworkout contain as much as 500 mg of coffee in a single serving. That is more than 6 cups of coffee. 

caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning that is slows down the flow of blood in your circulatory system and increases blood pressure.  Side effects include: insomnia, nausea, increased heart rate, drowsiness, headaches, anxiety, and restlessness.

Sugar

Although the majority of preworkouts contain artificial sweeteners some contain high volumes of sugar that can raise blood pressure and increase chronic inflammation,  both of which are pathological pathways to heart disease. Excess consumption of sugar, especially in sugary beverages, also contributes to weight gain by tricking your body into turning off its appetite-control system. The effects of added sugar intake include higher blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease that are all linked to an increased risk for heart attack and stroke.

Artificial Sweeteners

Unfortunately the majority of preworkouts and sports nutrition flavored supplements contain artificial sweetener.  Studies show that these artificial sweetners can lead to an increased risk of cancer, heart disease and obesity and may be more dangerous that sugar itself. Artificial sweeteners have also been shown to to impact your brain by crossing the  cross the blood-brain barrier and disrupt ing hippocampal function. This impairs sensitivity to interceptive signals, dysregulate appetitive behavior, and thereby promote food intake," says Rocio Salas-Whalen, MD, endocrinologist and founder of New York Endocrinology. 

Artificial sweeteners can alter your gut microbiota and lead to a series of gastrointestinal issues. "As per a recent study in Physiology & Behavior, the consumption of artificial sweeteners alters the gut microbiota and is linked with impaired glucose tolerance. Impaired glucose tolerance raises blood sugars and increases the risk for diabetes." 

This abnormal mix of bacteria in the gut can lead to increased risk of insulin insensitivity (the precursor of diabetes) and weight gain. Artificial sweeteners can lead to gut dysbiosis, often associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), is very common and not only leads to abdominal bloating and pain, but also decreases our ability to get the most nutrients from our food, decrease the health of our immune system and increase our risk of a host of chronic inflammatory disorders.

Artificial Colors and Flavors

Americans are now eating five times as much food dye as we did in 1955. These petroleum based colors and flavors have dangerous side effects according to a recent report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. This is why the nonprofit Washington, D.C.-based consumer-watchdog group has asked the Food and Drug Administration to ban them. Such man-made food dyes appear in ingredient lists as a name of a color with a number following it: Blue 1 and 2, Citrus Red 2, Green 3, Red 3 and 40, Yellow 5 and 6.

The three most widely used culprits-Yellow 5, Yellow 6 and Red 40-contain compounds, including benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl, that research has linked with cancer. Research has also associated food dyes with problems in children including allergies, hyperactivity, learning impairment, irritability and aggressiveness.

Bottom Line

If you're concerned, ditch the potentially dangerous synthetic dyes, artificial sweeteners, sugar and caffeine.  Look products containing natural colors, flavorings and natural sweeteners that are good for your health like stevia, xylitol, monk fruit, Erythritol or yacon syrup.  

High Energy Labs has just launched a Preworkout formulation called Galvanized N.O. that increases circulation (nitric oxide levels) and gives you lots of focus and energy for your workouts without the caffeine, sugar or artificial sweeteners and colors.  It is 100% natural and is sweetened with stevia. In reviews it has been touted as one of the best preworkout and best tasting formulas. It comes in a crisp green apple flavor.