Share
You could earn SmartPoints on this page!SmartPoint Coin

Monster Energy Being Sued! Are Energy Drinks Unsafe? — an article on the Smart Living Network
October 28, 2012 at 8:33 PMComments: 7 Faves: 0

Monster Energy Being Sued! Are Energy Drinks Unsafe?

By

You may have heard that the Monster energy drinks is being sued. Parents of 14 year old Anais Fournier feel that it was her consumption of two 24 oz. cans of the drink that led to her death. This case, along with others, is prompting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate the energy drink industry, as a whole.

Should these heavily caffeinated products be considered unsafe?

Is this a new revelation?

What are the consequences of ingesting these products to give us an energy boost?

The Caffeine Experience

Caffeine is a stimulant. It mimics the neurohormone "norepinephrine" (commonly known as adrenalin) and for many, it heightens alertness and energy. It has been used for generations from the chewing of cola nuts, to coffee and, most recently, designer energy drinks.

Energy drinks are heavily marketed and are rapidly coming to define a generation. Playing the modern sociologist, I see Monster logos on the binders of school kids and the back windows of cars. Red Bull is a prominent sponsor of anything "adrenaline-packed," like motocross, snowboarding, and, most recently, the world record skydive from the earth's stratosphere. They sell it and people buy it - particularly the younger generation.

The Caffeinated Beverage Spectrum

Not all caffeinated beverages are created the same and comparison illustrates the ridiculous amount of caffeine contained in energy drinks.

  • Can of Coca Cola: 12 oz 34 mg of caffeine
  • Cup of Coffee: 8 oz 108 mg of caffeine
  • Monster Energy Drink: 24 oz 240 mg of caffeine

How Much is Too Much Caffeine?

Caffeine dehydrates our tissues and can lead to muscle injury and painful knots. While most adults can tolerate 200-300 mg of caffeine, excess can lead to nervousness, jitters, and insomnia. Further, with regular use, our bodies can become dependent on it over time.

It is not uncommon for me to see a teenager who says they suffering from daily morning headaches and the only thing that fixes the headache is an energy drink. Thank goodness for those energy drinks and their medicinal headache-relieving properties, right? Wrong!

Though caffeine can, in fact, help with a headache, it only helps with "caffeine rebound" types. Caffeine is actually one of the most common causes of chronic daily headaches. Though rare, in addition to headaches, too much caffeine can also promote rhythm disturbances in the heart which can, in turn, lead to death.

Using caffeine to gain energy is like buying on credit. The bill will eventually come in the form of sleeping troubles or health problems. A deprived state that isn't soon balanced, can lead to immune system issues and suffering psychological well-being and mechanical functioning.

Should the Government Crackdown on Energy Drinks?

The ill effects of excessive caffeine have been long known. Caffeine, in various forms, was the main component in the numerous dietary supplements that have been taken off the market for health reasons.

Like many other products (alcohol, cold medicine, and even chocolate) moderate and appropriate use leaves no ill effects. It's the excessive use and abuse that leads to negative consequences.

One problem with energy drinks is that the FDA does not require the amount of caffeine to be included in the labeling. All companies are required to do is list "caffeine" as a component if it is one - and caffeine is often hidden in "natural" ingredients such as cola nut extract or guarana seed. The public is thus left unaware of the amount of caffeine they are consuming, and, topping the list of the unaware, are the youth to whom these products are most heavily marketed!

Caffeine Alternatives

Did you know our bodies actually manufacture their own caffeine-like hormones? Aerobic exercise is a great, healthy way to bring this out and boost energy levels. And of course, there's sleep - the best antidote for feeling fatigued! No matter what, our days only have 24 hours and our batteries need to be recharged on a daily basis.

In Conclusion...

Energy drinks are heavily marketed to youth in the "adrenalin generation" who crave more energy and hope that a quick-fix energy drink will deliver. Unfortunately, though, these drinks rarely reveal their exact caffeine content, and too much caffeine can bring about ill health effects.  While some caffeine may yield positive results, symptoms like frequent headaches should prompt people to cut it out of their diet for a while.

Remember: the healthiest way to get our bodies energized is with a good night's sleep!

Photo Credit: leilaschumacher

More from Health Coach Jeffrey VanWingen M.D. Others Are Reading

7 Comments

  • Why are we comparing a 24oz energy drink with an 8oz cup of coffee?? Per ounce, the coffee that you used as an example would have 13.5mg of caffeine while the energy drink would only have 10mg. Also a 24oz energy drink is an exceptionally large size, not that they don't exist, but typically monster is marketed in 16oz cans and red bull even smaller. Coffee is sold at starbucks in sizes much larger, 30oz being the largest size.

    So why are just energy drinks being targeted when a 16oz coffee has 216mg of caffeine and a monster has 160mg? I understand that energy drinks shouldn't replace sleep, but coffee was fueling the world for decades before energy drinks ever hit the market...

  • Whoa, excellent point Dayton!

  • It's the marketing that I see as the problem. As Dr. V pointed out, the energy drinks sponsor everything 'cool' these days. Reminiscent of cigarettes? I don't have a problem with using caffeine when you need to stay awake, but drinking coffee/energy drink to be able to function means you have a problem.

    Coffee is easy to ignore because it tastes terrible. Seriously, who actually likes coffee or the stink it leaves on you? They really only drink it for the boost. Now we have flavors for our coffee to make it taste less dirty feet and yesterday's underwear. Double reward = double addiction.

    Energy drinks, from what I hear, taste good and give you a boost. And, their marketed as what cool people drink. Triple reward = triple addiction.

  • I think it depends on who you are, because some people REALLY like how coffee tastes and think energy drinks are swill. And seriously, what is trendier than holding a starbucks cup whilst wearing a sweater and light cashmere scarf!?!?!?! NOTHING I SAY! lol

  • Some people also like the Durian fruit and Icelandic Hákarl.

  • Good points Dayton!

    Monster is made in the hometown! Corona, CA!!!!! I <3 MONSTER! hahaha

  • the other day I saw on TV that 5-Hour Energy -pink Lemonade flavor is a sponsor for Avon Breast Cancer and gave them a check for around $300 thousand dollars. Your boost of energy aside I find the fact that these two entities are working together because I have heard that caffeine can lead to lumps in breasts.

    Pink Lemonade 5-hour ENERGY® contains zero sugar, four calories and caffeine comparable to a cup of the leading premium coffee. Go here to see for your self. http://www.shop5hourenergy.com/detail/5HR+AVON+PINK+LEM

    They don't even have to list the amount of caffeine on the label but say comparable to a cup of the leading premium coffee. Plus unlike other energy drinks these are only the size of a shot!

Comment on the Smart Living Network


Site Feedback