I have consumed at least one cup of coffee per day, three tops, since the age of 14, but never an energy drink. Adam tried 5-Hour Energy once and found it ineffective, and he never drinks coffee, just a lot of Diet Pepsi. That’s the long and short of our experience with highly caffeinated beverages. Other people’s experiences with energy drinks have resulted in death (or so it’s claimed), which is why the government is getting involved in the form of a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigation and possible new regulations. And nobody likes those.
While a causal relationship has yet to be established, Monster Energy Drink has been linked to five deaths and one non-fatal heart attack, leading to calls for more thorough research into the effects of its ingredients, and those of other energy drinks, on children and people with weak hearts. As this chart shows, Monster is on the higher end of caffeine content, although not even twice as high as a regular cup of Starbucks. (I strongly recommend against consuming that stuff, but for a different reason that I will not specify here. You should know.)
An investigation is merited if it can determine exactly what ingredient in an energy drink should not be consumed by children or the literally faint of heart. In Monster’s case, is it really the caffeine? Or is it the taurine? The L-carnitine? The guarana seed? And how much of it can be consumed safely by the above two groups on its own, without being mixed with alcohol or anything else? Why don’t they know any of this already?
Possible regulations could take the form of federally mandated can sizes, although if someone truly believes that more energy drinks = enough energy for them to pull an all-nighter (without thinking of the inevitable crash), I don’t know what would stop them from buying more than one can. What would be next? Preventing sales to minors in stores? Preventing all sales in vending machines? How often does that stop the kids?
The FDA’s investigation will create an opportunity for education on the effects of energy drinks, which is what’s most necessary here. They’re not for everyone, and they’re definitely not for every situation, especially the ones in which you think they’ll help you work better. If your job was to push the same button as many times as possible for hours, that would be one thing. But you know what helps you do some actual thinking best? Sleep. And not procrastinating. (Yes, I’ve done that. I have a short attention span. But I regretted it every time.)
We were all told once that coffee was just for adults. Now we need to determine once and for all who energy drinks are “just for.” Because if the most obvious caffeinated drink in the world isn’t for kids, one with taurine and other ingredients you’ve never heard of can’t be all that healthy, either.