Energy Drinks:The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

by Katie Rankins Some products storm onto the market only to crash and fail, while others soar and seem to have no limit. Energy drinks are one of the products that soar. Following the introduction of Red Bull, in 1997, the market for energy drinks began to boom. There were 500 new energy drinks brought to the market in 2006 alone. Energy drinks became a $5.4 billion dollar market in 2007, up from $3.2 billion in 2006. Most consumers are between the ages of 12 to 34 years old and seem to be in line with the age group that these beverage manufacturers are targeting.

What are energy drinks? Energy drinks are beverages that contain high amounts of sugar, caffeine, and other stimulating substances that have a caffeine-like affect. Some of the more popular drinks on the market include: Red Bull, Amp, Rock Star, Monster, and Full Throttle. Energy drinks
What are the common ingredients and their effects? Caffeine- A diuretic that inhibits the body to absorb water, causing a person to secrete higher amounts of water, which ultimately causes dehydration Sugar- Added kcalories with no nutrients and increased risk of dental caries Ginseng- Enhances the effects of caffeine Guarana- A plant source of caffeine which causes the same effects as caffeine Taurine- A substance added to some energy drinks that help to increase the stimulants effects

Why such a bad rap? There is only as much caffeine in one energy drink serving as there is in one cup of coffee. But, an average can of energy drink is 2 servings, meaning you are taking in about 160mg of caffeine. That’s equivalent to almost 4.5 Mountain Dews or about 7 cans of Coca-Cola. To top it off they have the added ingredients that intensify the caffeine, so imagine the buzz of energy you would have.

So what’s wrong with a boost of energy? Maybe the real question should concern when to drink and when not to drink, these popular beverages. Also, because of the energy boost, these drinks are becoming increasingly popular among athletes. More focused on the short term boost of energy during a game and not considering the effects of dehydration, which can cause death, athletes are partaking in these energy drinks, rather than simply drinking water.

What happens when energy drinks and alcohol meet? The latest in popular club drinks are a mixture of energy drinks and alcohol. Energy drinks are a stimulant, while alcohol is a depressant. When the two beverages collide, a person may not feel the effects of the alcohol and underestimate their blood alcohol level. As a result, people are drinking more than they should while possibly impairing their judgment on whether to drive, or not. These concoctions cause an increase in heart rate and elevated blood pressure, causing risk for heart attack.

Who are they marketing to? Teens and young adults are the largest consumers of energy drinks. 53% of all energy drink sales are to 12 to 34 year olds, mostly male. The marketing is clearly aimed toward youth. With names like Rockstar and the message on their can reading; “an incredible energy boost for those who lead active and exhausting lifestyles-from athletes to rock stars”. Commercials are sending messages that their drink “gives you wings”, as if you are more capable of the impossible, when drinking Red Bull. Full Throttle with its flame logo and popular twist of a slogan, “Go Full Throttle or go home” is just another challenge from manufacturer to consumer. Their claims to provide energy, improve concentration, and increase metabolism are short lived. Too much caffeine has an inverse effect, fatigue, nervousness, irritability, and dehydration. Not exactly what the consumer was initially going for. In this commercial, by Amp energy drink, it is clear that athletes are the main target. Works Cited:

http://www.brown.edu/Student_Services/Health_Services/Health_Education/atod/energydrinks.htm http://www.msoe.edu/life_at_msoe/current_student_resources/student_resources/counseling_services/newsletters_for_mental_health/energy_drink_dangers.shtml http://www.marininstitute.org/alcopops/energy_drink_report.htm

More pages