My Favorite Energy Drink

Before a water polo game, Brett Johnson and his teammates like to prepare themselves mentally and physically with a jolt from their favorite drug in liquid form.
“It’s like crack; it’s addicting,” he says of his favorite energy drink, Monster.
Caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world and it is infamous for its energy boost and mild addictive properties. Energy drinks that contain high doses of caffeine are quickly gaining popularity with the younger generation.
Last year alone, $2.3 billion was spent on energy drinks and one in five college students had consumed energy drinks in the past year.
Charleen Essling, a nutritionist, is very concerned with the possible lasting effects of consuming energy drinks.
“Kids have never had access to so much caffeine in soda form before, when it’s mixed with all that sugar and carbonation. It’s just not healthy,” Essling said. “This generation is going to be the guinea pigs.”
Conversely, Dr. Aurora Saulo of the University of Hawaii believes that there are no adverse effects to caffeine, as long as it is in moderation, about 300 milligrams per day, which is what the Food and Drug Administration says is safe.
“Even the World Health Organization says consumption of caffeine in moderation is okay,” Dr. Saulo said. “Common sense tells you that if you go over moderation, you are taking a risk.”
Dr. Saulo, who often advises food manufacturers, admits that there is some controversy over caffeine.
“Caffeine is a food safety issue. It is one of the hotter topics,” she says.
According to CNN, a Colorado high school banned the energy drink Spike Shooter after several students reported feeling sick after consuming it. One student drank four cans before beginning to feel sick, ultimately being sent to the hospital.
A store near the school had been promoting Spike Shooter, giving away free beverages. The cans warned “Begin use with one-half can to determine tolerance.”
Most of the time, the caffeine content of a beverage isn’t even labeled on the can so there is almost no way of knowing how much caffeine you are putting in your body.
An excess of caffeine in the system can cause heart palpitations, jitters, shortness of breath, and nausea.
The Food and Drug Administration recommends, but does not regulate, the maximum caffeine content in a beverage to be 65 milligrams for 12 ounces.
An 8.4-ounce can of Spike Shooter has 300 milligrams of caffeine. In comparison, a cup of coffee has around 100 milligrams of caffeine and a can of Coke has around 35 milligrams of caffeine.
The caffeine kick from energy drinks is “like soda, cubed!” Johnson says.
Another popular energy drink, Red Bull, contains a measly 67 milligrams for 8.3 ounces compared to SoBe NoFear, which contains 141 milligrams for 16 ounces.
Sometimes coffee in the morning just isn’t enough. Sleepy teens are very attracted to the promised jolt from energy drinks. More and more, teens are getting well below the recommended nine hours of sleep per night.
Audrey Knuth, an Iolani senior (a high school in Oahu, Hawaii), only drinks energy drinks after she has had a late night and needs the extra caffeine to stay awake throughout the day.
“After a late night, it’s a great boost that makes me concentrate more,” she says. “It is like liquid speed.”
Many people like to mix energy drinks with alcohol in order to amplify the experience. There is no proof that incorporating energy drinks will lessen or increase your alcohol tolerance.
Many energy drinks incorporate extra ingredients to make the beverages more exotic and appealing. Taurine, an amino acid naturally produced by the body, is often added; taurine helps regulate heartbeat, muscle contraction, and energy levels.
Guarana, a South American plant, is dense in caffeine and adds extra caffeine to the drink. Ginseng is an herb known to increase energy and L-Carnitine is an amino acid that increases your metabolism and energy levels.
Of course, most energy drinks contain a lot of sugar. Sugar, or glucose, is fuel for the body, as it is a carbohydrate but many people experience a sugar high and low. They will receive a rush of energy from the sugar and crash soon after.