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07.13.05
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Dear HG,

Loved your energy drink reviews
  few weeks ago. But I'm confused. What the heck is "taurine"?  It's listed as an ingredient in all the energy drinks?

-Wondering 'Bout
Taurine

Dear Wondering,

Good question. I, too, was curious about this staple energy drink ingredient, so I did a bit of research.  Here's what I found: Taurine is an amino acid that the body naturally produces on its own.  People can also get this amino acid from meat and fish.  Taurine is important for certain bodily functions (like the digestion of fats), has been used as an anti-anxiety treatment, and has been utilized as a heartbeat regulator.  While there are many proposed uses for taurine, most experts believe the true effects of the substance are unknown.  Hmmm... Now, on to energy drinks.  Why is taurine a common ingredient?  Some people claim that taurine gives you energy, though no known studies support that claim.  And when Red Bull started using it in their drinks, everyone else jumped on the taurine bandwagon.  I wish I had a clearer answer for you, but it seems like there is little consensus on this stuff, or on the ways it may help or hurt people.  While there are no indications it's harmful, there is no solid research I could find that showed it actually has any positive effects either.  My advice?  If you like energy drinks, go ahead and drink 'em every once in a while.  Just don't overdo it.


Dear Hungry Girl,

I like to work out as soon as I wake up in the morning, but I don't know if it's better to eat breakfast before I go to the gym or wait until I get home to eat.  Do you burn more fat/calories if you work out on an empty stomach?

-Wondering in Washington

Dear Wondering,

Great question!  I have been asked about this dozens of times and have often wondered about this myself.  Since I'm not a trainer, or a nutrition expert, I turned to my pal Judith Sherman Wollin, (who is an exercise goddess and the author of Smart Girls Do Dumbbells) for some help.  Here's what Judith has to say: "If you're going to be exercising for less than an hour, you probably do not need to eat breakfast.  That's because when you're exercising, your body primarily uses stored energy, in the form of fats and glycogen (carbohydrates).  However, whether or not you should eat before exercising depends on the type of physical activity you're going to be doing and the length of time you'll be doing it.  For instance, I would not recommend doing any long-distance or long-duration exercises without a pre-exercise snack of carbohydrate-rich foods...energy bar, fruit, low-fat yogurt or high-fiber cereal.  But, if your morning workout is primarily designed to burn fat and build lean mass, you're better off waiting to eat your meal until after your workout.  However, don't forget to hydrate by drinking plenty of water while you're working out!"  There you have it.  Thanks, Judith!

 
CHEW ON THIS:
It's National "July Belongs to Blueberries Month"!  Did you know that blueberries contain more disease-fighting, age-proofing antioxidants than practically any other fruit or vegetable?  It's SO true!
 
 
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