Kristina D’Arcangelo D’Arcangelo 1Professor David DiSarroEnglish 10112 February 2013 Energy Drinks Should be Banned or Regulated Americans are known for expressing themselves, enjoying their freedom, showing offtheir livelihood, and living in a fast-paced world. Everyday, people are stressed out, rushingbetween school, work, sports, and their social lives, causing them to overwork and exhaustthemselves. All of this hustle-bustle can lead to fatigue and a feeling of crashing or burning out,which in turn leads them to turn to a boost of caffeine. For the past 100 years, the number onejolt of caffeine came from a cup of coffee; however, energy drinks are now increasingly popular.Almost half of the youth in America have said they drink energy drinks regularly or have tried anenergy drink more than once, looking for a hefty dose of caffeine (“Medline Plus” February 1,2013). This increase in the consumption of energy drinks has many side effects on teenagers,most of which are negative. Kids think they are helping themselves stay awake and canaccomplish much more after drinking an energy drink, but what they donot know is that thesedrinks can lead to many health problems such as dizziness, high blood pressure, obesity, heartattacks, and even death.Through much investigation and research from creditable doctors andscientists, it is evident that energy drinks are extremely dangerous to adolescents, and should bebanned in the United States or at least regulated, including modifying the amount of harmfulingredients or the minimum age in which you are allowed to purchase these harmful drinks. According to a Business Day journal published by The New York Times on January 11,2013, in 2012 the energy drink industry had approximately $10 billion in sales. The majority of
D’Arcangelo 2these consumers were under the age of 35, (Meier, par 4). Most young adults are unaware thatthe manufactures of these drinks market their products as dietary supplements. In doing this,these drinks are not manufactured by the Food and Drug Administration. The negative effect ofthis is that manufacturers are not limited to amount of caffeine they use in the making of thesedrinks and they do not even have to disclose this information or other harmful ingredients(McLellan and Lieberman, pgs. 730-744). The majority of these “miracle” drinks actually haveextremely high amounts of dangerous and damaging ingredients such as caffeine, ginseng,glucose, guarana, taurine. Most energy drinks contain about 140-170 milligrams of caffeine in a14-16oz can, (MH Lists, “Caffeine” par 1). This is double the amount of caffeine in and 8oz cupof coffee. Caffeine stimulates the nervous system and in excessive amounts can cause dizziness,headaches,jitteriness, and you will become unable to fall asleep. When consuming this amountof caffeine in one serving, adolescents become wired, only to significantly crash sooner thanlater. Energy drinks also contain about 50-60 grams of glucose or sugar. This level of sugar inthe blood can cause insulin to go through the ceiling, which leads to the inability to burn fat, inturn causing obesity, (MH Lists, “Glucose” par 1). This is misleading because most energydrinks are marketed to increase productivity and weight lost from the high increase of energy,but they actually contain too much sugar to burn off. Guarana is also an ingredient commonlyfound in these drinks. Guarana comes from a South American shrub and is also loaded withcaffeine. In comparison to a coffee bean, a seed from guarana has 4-5% caffeine, where as acoffee bean only has 1-2% caffeine, (MH Lists, “Guarana” par 1). The combination of theseingredients in high dosages can be extremely harmful to person’s health and can even causedeath.
D’Arcangelo 3 Another dangerous fascination with energy drinks in mixing them with alcohol.According to a survey, as many as 51% of college students reported they had mixed alcoholwith an energy drink, ( JAMA par 1). This is extremely dangerous because of the high level ofstimulants such as taurine, ginseng, and caffeine in energy drinks. Alcohol is a depressant, sowhen the two opposites are mixed together, it sends mixed signals to the central nervous systemand also causes cardio problems, (JAMA par 2).Also, alcohol severely dehydrates people,causing intoxication. The high levels of caffeine and glucose in the energy drinks alsocausesdehydration, and when the two are mixed together the combination causes the person to beincreasingly intoxicated. This high level of caffeine also adds to a person’s impaired judgment.Typically a person drinking alcohol mixed with an energy drink is perceived to be “more drunk”then a person just drinking alcohol; however, it does depend on the person’s height and weight.This combination of alcohol and high levels of caffeine and other harmful ingredients can bedeadly. Adolescents are not even old enough to consume or purchase alcohol, so equally shouldnot be old enough to consume or purchase energy drinks. A notable British health websiteconcurs, advising, “Redbull should not be drunk with alcohol, or after exercising,” (Mail Onlinepar 1). They also reported 3 cases of death from these situations. The same website also statesthat Norway, Denmark, and France have banned energy drinks from all stores except forpharmacies, (Mail Online par 8). The reason for this is because they consider energy drinks asmedicine or a drug due to its high caffeine content (Smith pg.1). The New York Times reported in 2011, that there were 20,783 reported emergency roomvisits in which an energy drink was cited as the primary cause of or a contributing factor to ahealth problem, (Meier par 3). In 2007, 10,068 people reported emergency room visits again
D’Arcangelo 4citing energy drinks as the cause, (Meier par 3). They also stated that there were no numberssubmitted for 2012. "Such problems, which are typically linked to excessive caffeineconsumption, can include anxiety, headaches, irregular heartbeats and heart attacks," (Meier par3). These statistics demonstrate that the number of cases of emergency room visits in the UnitedStates double between 2007 and 2011. Adolescents need to take this into accountability, andrealize that if nothing is regulated with these energy drinks, the rate of emergency room visitsand even deaths will continue to increase. Energy drinks are extremely dangerous whether mixed with alcohol or consumed byitself. Atleast 20 cases have been noted over the past 5 years in which the situation was deadly,(Meier par 8). In one particular case, a 14-year-old girl, Anais Fournier, from Hagerstown,Maryland died in December, 2011. One thing to consider is Fournier did have a heart conditionknown as mitral valve prolapse. The affects of this condition includes one of the heart valves tomalfunction. Fournier, was shopping at a local mall the night of December 16, 2011, when shepurchased a 24-ounce can of “Monster” energy drink. On December 17, 2011 she drank asecond 24-ounce can of the same energy drink. Apparently she consumed two 24-ounce cans ofthis energy drink within 24 hours. Later that night on December 17, 2011, she was allegedly athome watching TV with her boyfriend when she unexpectedly went into cardiac arrest. Herparents immediately brought her to Meritus Medical Center, and she was later flown to JohnHopkins Hospital. Doctors at the John Hopkins Hospital were forced to place her in an inducedcoma to keep her brain from swelling, however, she never regained consciousness. OnDecember 23, 2011, she was declared brain dead and her parents had to make an unfortunatedecision to pull her off life support. The parent of Anais Fournier are now filing a wrongful
D’Arcangelo 5death law suit against the Monster Beverage Corporation. Perhaps her mother, WendyCrossman, stated it best, “I was shocked to learn the FDA can regulate caffeine in a can of soda,but not these huge energy drinks. With their bright colors and names like Monster, Redbull, andFull Throttle, these drinks are targeting teenagers with no oversight or accountability,”(Bonurapar 5). This is true because the energy drinks certainly target young adolescents with their colorschemes and advertisement, suggesting that kids can boost their energy and productivity withone can, not knowing what harmful ingredients really lie beneath its eye-catching marketing.Her mother also stated, “These drinks are death traps for young, developing girls and boys, likemy daughter, Anais,” (Bonura par 8). Obviously, the Monster corporation is fighting theallegations, claiming that the allegations of the product were not responsible for the death ofAnais Fournier. “Caffeine can be lethal in doses ranging from 200 to 400 milligrams,” (Bonurapar 10). The two cans of Monster energy drink thatAnais consumed contained 480 milligramsof caffeine which is equal to fourteen 12-ounce cans of soda. In addition to the caffeine,Monster also contains guarana which contains caffeine, and taurine. Taurine is said to havesimilar effects on cardiac mussels, (Bonurapar 15). In conclusion, the use of energy drinks should be banned for the sale to adolescencesunder the age of 18, or atleast regulated. We should not give children under the age of 18 theopportunity to hurt themselves by consuming an energy drink. The high levels of caffeine andother damaging ingredients should be reduced or controlled. It is proven that these drinks cannegatively affect a person’s heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol, motor activity includingspeech rate, alertness and body temperature, which adolescents are unable to detect from the listof ingredients. The false advertisement aiming to adolescents is destructive and misleading. If
D’Arcangelo 6nothing is done to regulate these products, the rate of emergency room visits and death willunfortunately increase and become a reoccurring event.
D’Arcangelo 7 Works CitedBonura, Denise. Anais Fournier’s parents file wrongful death lawsuit against Monster BeverageCorp. The Record Herald.com www.therecordherald.com/article/201221022. RetrievedFebrurary 5, 2012Howland, JohnathanPhD, MPH; Damaris J. Rohsenow, PhD.Risks of Energy Drinks whenMixed with Alcohol, The Journal of American Medical Associationhttp://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1487124published January 16, 2013.Retrieved Feburary, 03, 2013.McLellan, TM; Lieberman, Hr.Do Energy Drinks Contain Active Components other thanCaffeine? Nutrition Reviews, 2012 Dec; Vol. 70 (12), pp. 730-44. Date of ElectronicPublication: 2012 Nov 09.Meier, Barry. “More Emergency Visits Linked to Energy Drinks,” The New York Times BusinessDay article January 11, 2013Smith, Geraint. Three deaths linked to energy drink,Mail Onlinewww.dailymail.co.uk/health/article59862 Retrieved Februray, 5,2013