The world of energy drinks

By Jason Bell |

Without even thinking, I pick up a Monster Energy drink to do homework or even before I go out for the night. Much like sleeping, it’s almost a necessity to life. With school work and a social life to upkeep, energy drinks have become a regular staple in my diet. As I look on the side of the can it reads, “Tear into a can of the meanest energy supplement on the planet, MONSTER energy.” This makes me think “What the heck am I putting into my body?”

The Nutrition Journal defines an energy drink as a beverage that gives the consumer a sharp jolt of energy provided by the caffeine and other stimulants such as ginseng, taurine, B vitamins, L-carnitine and many others that are crammed into one can. Upon reading the definition I began to wonder what negative effects a drink like this could have on the hundreds of thousands of college students who consume at least one of these drinks a day.

Energy drinks didn’t gain in popularity until the debut of Red Bull in 1997. By 2006, there were more than 500 new brands of energy drinks boosting the industry to $5.7 billion dollars. Thirty-one percent of teenagers say they drink energy drinks on a daily basis. That means that 7.6 million teens consume energy drinks in the year 2010. These drinks are aimed mostly at 18-to35-year old consumers, but are widely abused by college students. A few main reasons college students turn to energy drinks is to get that extra boost while studying for an exam, to get through class or a major course project, to treat hangovers and even to mix with alcohol to stay raging throughout the night.

No one has told any of us that these drinks might be bad for our bodies. Everywhere we look we see celebrities and sports stars with a can in their hand. I remember seeing a commercial around New Year’s for Red Bull where Robbie Maddison rides his dirt bike off a jump and lands on the top of hotel Arc at Paris in Las Vegas. Next thing he does is ride off the hotel down the ramp with about a four second hang time. All Rob had to say after this deathly stunt was, “Welcome to my world, world of Red Bull.” Yea Robbie, I’m sure Red Bull was the reason you pulled that stunt off. Why don’t you go ahead and list all of the side effects along with it.

Energy drinks are the new thing of this generation. Manufacturers have even come out with alcoholic energy drinks. Four Loko was a very popular alcoholic energy drink, with all the ingredients of normal energy drinks plus 12 percent alcohol. It has been found that this has led to people blacking out, not remember their night. It’s approximately three times the amount of a regular beer. It wasn’t until nine students were hospitalized at Central Washington University that these drinks were banned.

Just like cigarettes and alcohol, energy drinks should have warnings on them. The fact that consuming one or more energy drinks can lead to side effects and can even be fatal, is the reason there should be some type of warning. The American Association of Poison Control Centers tracked 677 cases of overdoses and severe side effects nationwide. The side effects of energy drinks are mainly nervousness, the jitters, nausea, dizziness, difficulty breathing, trouble sleeping, severe headaches and is also found that in females it can cause breast shrinkage.

Caffeine isn’t bad in moderation. A cup of coffee here or there but consuming one energy drink is not in moderation. But the result of drinking two or more in one day can lead to serious side effects. “Tear into a can of the meanest energy supplement on the planet, MONSTER energy.” Maybe it would be a good idea for Monster and other energy drink brands to state how bad these drinks are for you and what will happen if you consume too much. If they did so, maybe there wouldn’t have been so many cases of overdoses and harsh and even sometimes fatal side effects. Companies should stop worrying so much on their sales of a product and start putting warning labels about the truth of what products like this can and will do to your body.

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