From the title and the picture, my direction is not a secret. The consumption of “energy” drinks have increased over the years exponentially; still, it needs to be addressed and exposed for what it is. The horrible effects of these products are astonishing . . . and hidden. Whatever it’s called (Pimp Juice, Full Throttle, Rock Star, Monster Energy, Rage, Cocaine, Red Bull, etc.), it is marketed to a younger age group where the most damage can occur.
The ghost labeling of these drink makers should be the first red flag. The Food and Drug Administration imposes a limit of 71 mg of caffeine per 12 fl oz of soda. However, the energy drink manufacturers may circumvent this limit by claiming that their drinks are “natural dietary supplements.These companies can market their products as dietary supplements and forgo a nutrition facts label, leaving consumers to wonder whether what they see is what they get, says Ruth Litchfield, an associate professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University. “When a product has a supplements facts label, it has not gone through the FDA approval process to be on the market as a food item,” she says. “Whereas a nutrition facts panel goes through the FDA process of proving safety and efficacy before it goes on the market as a food product.” Why so sneaky? If the drink is okay for consumers, why do this? The younger the consumer, the worse it can be. A recent study conducted by the American Heart Association found that between the years of 2010-2013, 40% of all the energy drink exposure calls to the poison control centers involved children age 6 or under. The University of Colorado researchers discovered that when caffeine is consumed by those with developing brains, it permanently alters brain chemistry causing those individuals to receive more pleasure from cocaine and other drugs, leading to abuse later in life. Yes, a large Starbucks coffee has a very high amount of caffeine (that is the argument all of the time), but the coffee does NOT have the hidden ingredients and additional stimulants that energy drinks possess.
In addition to caffeine, high levels of sugar and other stimulates contribute to the dangers of these drinks. energy drinks often contain high amounts of labelled caffeine but can also contain ‘masked’ caffeine such as guarana – a plant with twice the concentration of coffee beans.
The amount of hospital visits directly related to energy drinks has skyrocketed since 2005. Monster Energy drinks have been implicated in the death of a 14-year-old who died in December 2011 due to a heart attack caused by the caffeine in two cans of the drink. From 2004 to 2012, the FDA received reports about five deaths that have been linked with drinking Monster Energy drinks. Of course, Monster Energy Drinks denies any link between their drink and these deaths.
A trend among many teenage consumers is to drink an energy drink immediately before an athletic event or practice. Typically, teens consider energy drinks to sports drinks and assume that more is better. Doing this causes the natural electronic rhythm of the heart to falter. Each 16-ounce energy drink contains around 160 mg of caffeine. This is as much caffeine as is in one cup of coffee and twice as much caffeine as is recommended for older children and teenagers. Even for adults, the Mayo Clinic recommends daily intake of less than 500 mg of caffeine in a day’s time. Besides aforementioned guarana, let’s take a look at what else is in a typical can:
- 5 and 6 teaspoons of simple sugars. These sugars make your energy and blood sugar levels soar very quickly, but your sugar and energy will also crash just as quickly. For a diabetic or anyone sensitive to sugar, this can be devastating.
- There is some amount of vitamins B2, B3, B6 and B12. These vitamins are being used as additional stimulate.
- There is a huge amount of taurine in each can of Monster. This amino acid helps regulate salt and water in the blood. Little is known about possible side effects, but most researchers think that the reason is to help the body not get sick from the high amount of sugar.
- Sodium in one can of the drink is two times the amount in 20 ounces of Coke.
- Other chemicals used in energy drinks are carnitine, inositol, maltodetrin and glucuronolactone. Yeah, that sounds natural.
- Want to see something interesting? Google the word glucuronolactone.
So do these drinks boost energy? Yep, but so does eating properly, exercising, and getting proper rest. Americans have evolved into a “short cut” mentality when it comes to weight control, relationships, body alterations, energy boosts, sexual gratification, making money, among many other things. Most of these short cuts are NOT good for you and your health, mentally or physically. Anything that is good for you takes discipline and time. Every wonder why every single person in America isn’t the perfect picture of health? They would enjoy it. There would be less health issues. Then why not? Most people don’t have the discipline it takes. Energy levels are no different.