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The Gloves Are On Against Energy Drinks

January 30, 2011

The energy drink controversy is in the news again this week. JAMA, Journal of the American Medical Association and a NY Post writer have come out punching with no holds barred. They just do not like these drinks and they want you, the consumer, to be aware of the concerns.

The main point is that neither sodas NOR energy drinks are healthy. Both have far too much sugar, and those with added caffeine derive it from an extract, or from a natural outside source such as guarana. Coffee on the other hand has healthier caffeine because it is part of the coffee plant. There are no additives (with the exception of flavorings in coffees so identified) - you get the straight brew from the bean from the plant with no adulteration. If that speaks healthy to you, then your drink choices should be clearer.

The latest on energy drinks, the small but expensive “shots”, is even worse. Though they may lack the sugar culprit, unnatural amounts of caffeine are compressed into a shot, as one manufacturer advertises “With a caffeine content of 150 mg/100 ml, … energy shots carry as much caffeine as approximately two cups of coffee.”

There are exaggerated claims being made, such as a shot providing “2,000 percent of the daily dose of vitamin B6 and up to 8,666 percent of vitamin B12”. Nutritionists say if this is true, though unlikely, it would be harmful as well as wasted - most of it would be excreted. It’s also probable this amount would put a heavy load on the liver on the way to excretion. After trying one of these shots, one user noted, "It doesn't do anything for me. A cup of coffee works better."

Yep, agreed. Also, the coffee industry generally does not promote drinking to excess. The National Coffee Association has stated on their site that consumption of coffee should be in moderation, which was defined by them as between two to four cups a day. That’s more than can be said for the shot/energy drink promoters.



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