What’s Really Behind the Jolt in Your Energy Drink?

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It’s not surprising that energy drink companies bombard us with enticing promises of a “big bad buzz” or “wings when you need them.” Who wouldn’t want more energy? It’s hard to resist the allure of a pick-me-up to help you stay alert and energized.

Energy drinks — those fizzy, sweet beverages made of caffeine, taurine, vitamins, herbal supplements, sugar and sweeteners — boast of improving energy, stamina, concentration, and weight loss. And with more than $12.5 billion in sales in 2012 alone — up 60 percent from 2008 — it’s undeniable that these drinks have us hooked. In fact, they are the fastest growing U.S. beverage market. But is there a downside?

For our latest Unreal Eats report, we decided to find out. We picked six of the most popular energy drink brands and scoured their (substantial!) ingredient lists, complete with mysterious compounds like gum arabic, pyridoxine hydrochloride, Inositol and Cyanocobalamin.

But while the 20-plus ingredient lists were a turnoff, what surprised us most was howlittle caffeine each energy drink actually had. While their caffeine levels ranged from 80 mg to 215 mg per can, a modest 12-ounce Pike Place Roast Starbucks Coffee had significantly more, at 260 mg. If you can get more caffeine from an all-natural bean roast with proven health benefits, what’s so appealing about the unnaturally colored drinks on display at supermarkets and convenience stores?

There is remarkable hype surrounding these drinks. Red Bull, which acquired names such as “liquid cocaine” and “speed in a can” when first introduced in Austria in 1987, has had incredible success with its advertising campaigns, which are often targeted to children, adolescents and young adults: One study found that 30-50 percent of adolescents and young adults regularly drink energy drinks.

In a recent CBS This Morning piece, contributor Dr. David Agus noted that by making it so easy for kids to obtain and consume energy drinks, as a society we are essentially “encouraging kids to take performance-enhancing drugs.” He also explained how drinking a cup of coffee is a slow process of caffeine ingestion, whereas many energy drinks are a “shot” that delivers the caffeine all at once.

As has been noted time and again, caffeine has many health benefits. And the contribution of individual energy drinks to overall caffeine intake isn’t staggering — but something about the way we consume them contributes to harm: Emergency room visits related to energy drinks doubled between 2007 and 2011, reported Boston.com, with caffeine overdose as a common cause. And of the 5,448 U.S. caffeine overdoses reported in 2007, 46 percent occurred in those younger than 19, according to a 2011 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

And for those who start young, many of the myriad other ingredients found in energy drinks have not been studied for potential long-term effects. What’s more, they are virtually unregulated anyway. Although the FDA limits the caffeine content in soft drinks, due to their inclusion in the “food” category, they do not regulate the amounts in energy drinks, which are classified as dietary supplements.

Despite these pitfalls, energy drink manufacturers often boast health claims on their labels. Many of the drinks we tested used B-vitamins as a “healthy” additive — with a role in energy metabolism and cognitive function. “Vitamins are essential micronutrients that are required for maintaining normal body functions,” Red Bullclaims on its website.

But B vitamins don’t actually provide us with energy jolts. “It’s brilliant marketing, but it doesn’t have any basis,” said Hope Barkoukis, an associate professor of nutrition at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. The copious amounts of B Vitamins in energy drinks are essentially just unnecessary extras, and they get flushed out.

With so much more research necessary to make any conclusive statements regarding the absolute safety of many ingredients in energy drinks, and with the lack of FDA regulation, lawmakers are starting to raise their voices about making changes. In arecent Senate commerce hearing senators pressured energy drink companies Red Bull, Rockstar and Monster to stop their child-targeted marketing practices.

All we know is that we’re definitely sticking with good old-fashioned java.

By Cathryn Woodruff
Source www.huffingtonpost.com

2013-08-15T11:46:45+00:00

Related Questions

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    Q: Hey herbalist, so I have been doing a lot of research on caffeine, and the benefits and harms of it. I am looking for some added information about the differences between the caffeine found naturally in coffee or tea, and the kind found in pure caffeine pills. I have heard that the pills are much more harmful, but have not been able to find proof of why. With the exception of "its made in a lab, therefore it must be worse". If you could shed some light on the matter, I would greatly appreciate it! Just one more question. I have read that caffeine blocks the re-uptake of glutamate. This can cause glutamate toxicity (resulting in dead brain cells), but I am skeptical as to how often this occurs. Will that happen if one takes just 200-mg of caffeine? Is it for the chronic caffeine users who drink 6 cups of coffee a day for 10 years? Thanks so much for your time and effort! looking forward to some knowledge!

    A:

    Nature does not make caffeine or any substance in mono-structured form, including caffeine. Caffeine consumed by itself is harmful (a la caffeine pills -- nature does not produce caffeine pills). Caffeine pills are INORGANIC and thus not absorbed by the body (the cells). Bio-caffeiene from plant sources is ORGANIC and thus absorbable. Organic substances can be absorbed through the cells. Inorganic substances cannot. Inorganic caffeine blocks reuptake of glutamate, and that's another reason why synthetic caffeine is harmful. Organic caffeine does not block reuptake of glutamate.

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    Q: I would like to know what are the benefits of green food drinks (superfoods as I've heard them called) and how often could I drink them in a day. Thank you in advance for your wisdom!

    A:

    The benefits are all positive: alkaline, energizing, nutritious, rich in chlorophyll, antioxidant, etc. and you can drink them as much as you like, just like many people drink wine, beer, coffee, Kool-Aid, milk, etc. as much as they like and never worry about it. It's all good!

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    Q: I just stumbled on your website this evening, and after wondering around I have become very impressed!! WOW!! What a great place with awesome knowledge! I was told from a MRI last Aug, that I have a possible inverted papilloma tumor behind my left eye. I went in because my eye was pushed out, and had proptosis. I was also sick with vertigo, and I had found a tumor in my stomach and my leg. I have lost all my family to cancer, and thier western treatments! So hearing OU medical center, the Mayo Clinic etc, tell me I need chemo, radiation, and surgery. I run the other way!! Since last August, I have become my own doctor. I eat whole foods only, no meat! Drink juice, green drinks, and take all kinds of herbs. Its too much to tell! HA! I have had awesome results, tumor in stomach is gone, and now this week leg one is gone too! The one in my frontal sinus cavity seems like it is pretty stubborn, I have spent tons of $$$ searching for a holistic doctor to help, I recently drove 1300 miles, and got the same answer, I guess this is a type of (benign cancer, maybe) that has no reserch or results in holistic meds. Most places refer me to surgery, then want me to come back and start a protocol. My tumor is in a dangerous place, but I went through the swelling in the begining when I was detoxing and on apricot seeds. I guess my question is, do you know of anything that may help? I seem to have trouble keeping my Ph above even 6.5 or so, I eat mostly alkalizing foods, I think maybe I will order your Candida Buster? I have no allergies anymore, and tons of energy!! Any suggestions you may have will be trully appreciated!

    A:

    I wouldn't recommend "Candida Buster." I would recommend the Full Body Detox, for starters. After the FBD, I would recommend that you take Sinus Formula, and Tumor Buster. It is really great hearing about all of your successes in healing. Very inspirational. Just keep things moving, staying positive, Beloved! Keep doing your fantastic dietary regimen as well.

    Product Links:
    Full Body Detox
    Sinus Formula
    Fibroid Buster

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    Q: I would like to find a good multi-vitamin. Primarily for help with energy, stamina, and memory. Also I am interested in a weight loss program. Primarily something that attacks the fat in the lower abdomen area.

    A:

    For vitamins and minerals: ELECTRIC GREENS CELL FOOD, and KHEMETIAN GOLD. For memory: BRAIN TUNER For weight release: FULL BODY DETOX followed by WEIGHT RELEASE CLEANSE AND REGIMEN

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    Q: There is a raw bar called Raw Crunch Energy Bar - Goji Berry, and a raw protein drink called-Raw Power! (Chocolate) Protein Superfood Blend (raw, organic), can these be taken on the detox to sub for a salad while at work?

    A:

    As long as the nutrition bars are made from RAW FOODS, they are ok. Please check the ingredients label to make sure they are within the parameters of the cleanse guidelines.

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    Q: I'm finding everyday I'm tired and feel the need for a nap and lack energy , should I be taking something for energy and if so what ?

    A:

    We recommend doing the Full Body Cleanse to get your health into a better state and rejuvenate your bodies energy levels in general. We also suggest trying our Energy Formula and Brain Booster supplements.

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    Q: I am in need of cleansing my body and weight removal! (Removal and not loss because I don't want to find it again)! I need to remove about 80 pounds of unhealthy weight from my body and would like to do so in a natural way. I looked at both your Female Cleanse and the Full Body Cleanse, but don't know which is a better option for me to follow right now? I eat a lot of organic foods, I juice (some) but need to increase my water intake (A LOT). I don't drink much soda at all and when I do it is organic carbonated lemonade. I realize carbonated drinks are not good for us and limit how much I drink. My body lets me know when I have eaten something that is not good for me by causing my hands and feet to swell. To reduce this I drink water. I am allergic to wheat and try to stay away from it as much as possible. I have few ailments and have started working out again (cardio and weight training). I also looked at your weight loss products, but thought I should maybe detox first. What do you think? Any assistance you can offer on your products and which ones I should take is of great appreciation.

    A: The best thing for you is the Full Body Cleanse. The Full Body Cleanse will allow you to remove unwanted weight, while also optimizing your entier body so that you can maintain that weight and live a healthier lifestyle.

     

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    Q: Do you have any products or advice for lack of energy (strange weakness and tiredness) and localized skin problem, loss of color in the mouth and on the lips are reddish???

    A:

    YES! Energy: ENERGIZER FORMULA, ENERGY TEA, and BRAIN TUNER Skin Problems: OZ OIL and HEALING SKIN OIL It really sounds like you need to detoxify your body, Beloved. The skin is a sensor of the blood and it sounds like the blood needs to be purified! Visit our FULL BODY DETOX page!

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    Q: I hope all is well! I am writing this note to request a consultation with Djehuti . I can only imagine how busy you are, so I will be brief. But, feel free to let me know if you'd like more detailed information. I am contacting you regarding seeking treatment for severe clinical Depression. In addition I suffer from a severe lack of energy. I'd also like to treat several nutritional deficiencies. I am 35 years old. I have been suffering from Clinical Depression since I was about 16 years old. I began to address my Depression only about 3-4 years ago. Since that time I have struggled off and on with counseling with a Social Worker, psychotherapy with a Psychiatrist, group therapy with a Psychologist, several medications, outpatient hospitalization, CBT therapy, and natural and alternative treatments such as herbs, minerals, vitamins, yoga, exercise, meditation, fasting, and cleansing. But nothing has had any long term benefits. My Depression has become increasingly more severe. Over the past 1.5 years, my Depression has been at its worse. About a year ago, I lost my job due to the Depression. I then went into a major depressive episode that has lasted well over a year. I'd like to ask you for some direction in treating my Depression, lack of energy, etc. If you have some time, I'd love to do a consultation with you. Any help that you can offer will be greatly appreciated. I am interested in doing an intense 3-month fast and detox cleanse. I would really like to do a cleanse and detoxification to completely heal my body and get rid of the toxins, impurities, mucus, etc. Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you.

    A:

    Have you schedule a consultation yet? Drugs won't help you. The root cause is emotional and spiritual. Dherbs.com can help you! I'll have an article up on depression by December 1, 2008. Stay tuned to Dherbs.com!

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    Q: Can I drink coffee with caffeine while on 21day cleans?

    A: No, you cannot consume any kind of coffee or caffeine while cleansing. One of the main purposes of the cleanse, is to give your body a break from the things it's accustom to receiving; letting your body function on it's own. It's common for people to get proper sleep at night, have energy, but still have a need to consume coffee or some type of caffeine. It's important for your body to produce natural energy. You can consume herbal tea's while cleansing, Green Tea provides the most energy. The Dangers of Drinking Coffee - https://dherbs.com/news/4844/4669/The-Dangers-of-Drinking-Coffee/d,ai.html

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    Q: I have a numbing, tingling sensation and fraying of nerves. Draining of energy and natural electromagnetism causing fatigue, what can I do to neutralize or correct this problem?

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    SURROUND YOURSELF WITH: CRYSTALS, PLANTS, DIODES, ETC. PERFORM THE FULL BODY DETOX PERIODICALLY! EAT PLENTY OF GREEN VEGGIES. EAT PLENTY OF SEAWEEDS TOO. SEAWEEDS NEUTRALIZE RADIATION!

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    Q: What is Pure Acai Berry? It says that it will help lose weight, increased Energy, and loaded with Antioxidants! It is good for the body. I use the Full Body Detox. My wife is thinking about trying the Pure Acai Berry. I told her that I did not find out what it was, so I told her I would ask you and find out what it is.

    A:

    ACAI BERRY IS A NEWLY INTRODUCED FRUIT TO THE U.S. THAT AS AMAZING QUALITIES. IT IS HIGH IN ANTIOXIDANTS AND VITAMINS. IT CAN BE USED TO HELP ENHANCE ENERGY LEVES AS WELL HELP FOLKS REDUCE AND KEEP WEIGHT OFF. IT'S AN AWESOME FRUIT!!!!! HOWEVER, THE ACAI BERRY IS NOT MORE POWERFUL THAN YOUR MIND!

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    Q: What type of exercise is good for working out while on the Full Body Detox program? I'm afraid I won't have much energy and stamina for a high impact workout on a raw food diet. Any suggestions???

    A:

    Thanks for the question,

     

    Exercises recommended:

    ·        Yoga

    ·        Light resistance training

    ·        Walking

    ·        Biking

    ·        Swimming

    ·        Trampoline

    ·        Pilates

    ·        Aerobics 

     

    It's best to keep exercise to a minimum. When you exercise your body pulls blood away from your core and into your limbs (fight or flight response). That directs blood away from your healing response. Also high impact or weight training requires more calories and more protein which will over work the organs that should be using their energy healing.

     

    Hope this helps,

    Gary Gibson HHC CPT BMI VLC

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    Q: Hello. I weigh about 138 pounds,but I feel bloated after I eat and lack of energy. Would this product be okay for me to take because I don't want to lose any weight. Thank you.

    A: It's common for certain foods within a diet to cause bloating and to decrease your energy. The Full Body Cleanse is beneficial in more ways than just weight loss. It's a detox program that cleanses all of your major organs including the colon, boosting your energy levels and immune system. The purpose for cleansing is to eliminate waste and toxins that accumulates over the course of time that often contributes to that lethargic feeling. Your body has it's own intelligence. It won't allow you to lose necessary weight when you're already at the appropriate weight for your height. We recommend eating the foods in the diet that are high in fat such as avocados, almonds, sunflower seeds, pecans, pumpkin seeds and coconut products.

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    Q: Peace, I am very interested in using your products. However, I want to be sure that I am on the right track. I have a serious problem eliminating waste from my body. My bowels do not move naturally. I have to take something to get any movement. Recently, I visited with a Chinese Herbalist who informed me that I "had" a weak spleen. I began taking Four Gentlemen Teapils along with Yin Chi female performance for energy and smooth move cap. My energy improved tremendously but the bowel movements were minimal. On my next visit he took me off of the Four Gentlemen and put me on Gui Pi Wan Teapils and a detox. I'm not real sure about the contents of the detox caps but my bowels did move a bit more but still not on their own when I finished the detox. Now I am at the point where I feel good still with some bloating in my upper abdomen, very uncomfortable. I would like to work with someone who can help me to understand how to heal my body. Thus, my husband mentioned your name a couple of months ago. He heard about you on a radio show. And, I have a 10-year old daughter who's body is preparing for menstruation. She complains about mild stomach aches more like cramps and some headaches during certain times of the month. I want to know what I can do to assist her body as it transitions into young woman hood. I am thinking of your full body cleanse first. I would love to maybe speak with you and put myself on the best path possible. Thank you.

    A:

    Give your daughter MOON CYCLE FORMULA and FEMALE HORMONAL FORMULA (1-2 capsules daily). And/or drink 1 cup of FEMALE HEALTH TEA daily.

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    Q: It's been 2 weeks now since, I started eating exclusively raw. I'm even baking whole wheat bread in the sun. This was a great substitute for the cooked rice I used to eat. I'm also eating quite a large amount of grapes (red and white), as my body seems to ask for it. But recently, I noticed that my heart is beating quite strongly, and I find difficulty to bear the hot weather as a consequence. Also, I noticed a white pimple on the tip of my tongue, and this was a confirmation that there was maybe too much stimulating energy in the heart (according to oriental diagnosis of the tongue). When I eat sun baked bread, I automatically feel heat in the body. So I'm wondering if this is a good food to continue with or not. Isn't it more "neutral" (in terms of energy) to include a small portion of cooked brown rice along with the raw regimen? Just want remind you of my health issue: HPV and bacteria in the urinary tract.

    A:

    Greetings! No need to feel helpless. Feeling is very powerful and you will attract more of what you are feeling if you don't control your feeling. Please consider ordering and READING (digesting) our "Mental Science Manual" and "The Love Manual" e-books. If you had sex with the guy who cheated on you, you ignited stored residual feelings from the initial violation of your trust. Forgive yourself (and him) and move on. Okay, as far as the sun baked bread, LISTEN to your body. If you're feeling heat, it's stimulating. Cut back on eating this bread. Go back to a little brown or wild rice (very balancing). Remember to detoxify your body periodically! Full Body Detox and Anti-Viral Formula.

    Product Link:
    Full Body Detox
    Anti-Viral Cleanse and Regimen

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    Q: I'm a 21 year old male suffering from testicular disorder and from partial impotence (Takes longer than 5 minutes without porn to get hard and no morning erections). Here are my questions. 1. How long would it take for the Male Hormonal Formula (which I just purchased a few days ago) before I notice any results? Just curious. 2. Can take the three daily pills all at once, one before each meal (breakfast, lunch dinner), or what? 3. How much water should I drink with this and can other drinks like tea and juice act as a substitute for just plain water?

    A:

    How fast you see results with the Male Hormonal Formula all depends on how much your body needs to cleanse before it returns to optimal function!

    You can take all 3 capsules at once.

    You can drink water or substitute water with herbal tea or fresh juice.

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    Q: My sister has sickle cell anemia and has to deal with her potassium levels being too high. Although she drinks plenty of water all of the time she was just hospitalized for being dehydrated as well as high potassium levels. This is my question; to help her dehydration if she drank water with the added vitamins would that help? and what can she do to control her potassium levels? She does not eat foods with potassium and her levels are still high.

    A:

    YES, IT IS A GOOD IDEA TO DRINK WATER WITH VITAMINS ADDED TO THEM. THE BEST FORM OF VITAMINS AND MINERALS IS KHEMETIAN GOLD. THIS FORMULA WILL ALSO ADDRESS HER POTASSIUM IMBALANCE AS WELL.

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    Q: What is the relationship between exercise and energy?

    A:

    Energy exists whether we exercise or not. We live in a sea of energy. Exercise helps us to keep our bodily fluids fluid and moving.

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    Q: Greetings, I wanted to let you know that I have been taking your prenatal vitamins, and they work great! I am expecting in December, and I am still nursing my one year old. Without the herbs I would not have the energy. Also, my husband's brother used your detox, and also loved it. I do, however, have a question for you. I was reading your article on Candida Yeast Infections and came across something very interesting, intertrigo. I believe this is what my daughter has in the folds of her arms. You told me to use shea butter some time back, and it works but the problem has never gone away completely. I believe the problem is internal. I believe we all, my husband, daughter and myself have some form of this yeast problem. I'm taking her to the pediatrician tomorrow, but you and I both know how that's going to end up. Any suggestions?

    A:

    Greetings Beloved! Wow! That's great to hear! Always glad to hear how people benefit from Nature's herbs. And yes, the problem is always internal as I explain in the article "Skin Disorder = Blood Disorder" which is why you should also concentrate on the child's internal makeup, i.e. liquid extracts, i.e. Vitamin C, Blood Extract, Goldenseal-Echnicaea.

    Article
    Skin Disorder = Blood Disorder