Can energy drinks improve the physical and mental performance of cyclists?
Consumption of energy drinks containing caffeine may have beneficial effects on exercise but probably not for mental function. The effects of pre-exercise caffeine consumption by trained cyclists on racing times and cognitive performance were measured and are reported in Journal of Caffeine Research.
Race performance improved for all study participants after consuming an energy drink, even if they already had an elevated blood caffeine level before the energy drink. Cycling times improved by an average of 3% for the group. David Gray Lassiter and coauthors from University of Texas at Austin also reported improvements in certain aspects of cognitive function, but these were probably not due to the energy drink. They present their findings in the article "Effect of an Energy Drink on Physical and Cognitive Performance in Trained Cyclists."
"While it is not certain from this one study whether energy drink improves physical performance, the study is important in pointing the way to further research in this area," says Jack E. James, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Caffeine Research.