Energy or Death?


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Energy drinks.  I am sure that most of us, at one time or another has had an energy drink like Amp, Monster, or Rockstar.  Most of us have all heard about the dangers of these drinks and how bad they are for you.  As I was looking around WebMD  ( a great resource to find good things to write about by the way) I found an article about the hazards of these drinks and that the death of one young girl is being blamed on the energy drink.

 energy-drinks3.bmp

The 14 year old died six days after drinking 2 24 ounce Monster's over a two day period.  A few hours after drinking her second Monster in two days, her heart stopped and a coma had to be induced.  Unfortunately this was not enough and she died six days later.

This ARTICLE is a great non biased one that clearly states that this single anecdote does not mean that the Monster caused the girl's death.  This is exactly the type of sensationalization that Professor Read was talking about in class in reference to vaccines causing autism.  The claim by the family, is very similar to that of the CNN interview, it is believable and a gripping story that compels you to believe that the drinks caused her death.  This is a danger posed by these types of stories; they do not give you all the facts and can lead you astray.

One crucial way that this story is different than the vaccine one, lies in the fact that "energy drinks" ARE actually reported to be quite bad for you.  This STUDY, in the Medical Journal of Australia, concluded that energy drinks are dangerous.  They recorded calls to call centers from people who had energy drink related issues.  (Notice the method of data retrieval is not very good, this is an observational, if you can call it that, based on self-reported information)  The study found that over the 6 years it was done that the trend of energy drink related calls has been increasing steadily.  The conclusions are non-specific, simply stating that the reports of energy drink related issues are increasing, particularly among children, and that the rules and regulations surrounding these drinks should be reviewed.  Although this is not a superb study, the results seem to be pretty clear.

This PAPER published in the Pediatrics journal also comes to a similar conclusion about energy drinks.  The drinks provide no real positive effects, are unregulated and should be researched further.  They say that there needs to be a further understanding of the effect the caffeine has on the users, especially, adolescents.  Given this information (along with oodles of articles by just typing in "energy drinks" on Google) are you willing to continue using these drinks knowing that they could be dangerous?  Honestly, I am not sure that I am willing to give them up just yet.  Most of the conclusions seem to be based on the negative effects on children, and most often, the kids had more than one in a short period of time.  Me, being a very infrequent user (maybe once a month, if that) I am not concerned about my health at this point.  Maybe future studies will convince me otherwise, but at this point I do not see enough conclusive evidence to say that having an occasional energy drink is going to ruin my health.

1 Comment

While reading your article I asked myself why these drinks are so harmful. During tough weeks I'll drink up to two in one week. Once, I drank two in one day. I have never faced any problems only an extra dose of energy. So why would it have affected that girl, to the point of death, and not me at all? Why is drinking an energy drink harmful enough to cause death anyways? One theory on the caffeine in any caffeinated drink, as said by CBS, is that when you consume more than 1 gram it's dangerous and "…it can be lethal at 10 grams." This relates to our classroom discussion on the risk of things. How bad is it, and how likely is it to happen? In this article they made it clear that high doses of caffeine can be bad. “Higher doses [of Caffeine] in the range of 250-500 mg can lead to feelings of nervousness, insomnia, mild tremors, or generalized restlessness… At even higher doses, caffeine can cause a hyperadrenergic syndrome that can lead to significantly elevated blood pressure as well as cardiac arrhythmias, and potentially seizures.” The revelation of risks these energy drink levels of caffeine can have on one’s health should make a rational person reconsider drinking them. Cleveland Clinic cardiac surgeon Dr. Marc Gillinov recommends that people don't consume more than 400 to 500 milligrams per day, which one can of monster has 240.

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