Energy drinks: power or poison?
Well, oh, oh my gosh. I’m sorry thing to do is off. I need to stay awake Fortunately I’ve got a nifty energy drink here. This is supposed to keep me awake according to the Manufacturers it it gives me some kind of wings Monstrous wings and look at all the great stuff. It’s got in it. Let’s hold this up here. It’s got vitamins. It’s got L-carnitine It’s got taurine Those are really really cool chemical names and well because they’re so prominently listed on the can these things Absolutely must give you energy or else. They wouldn’t list them, right? Right well let’s look at that shall we Just because these things are listed on the label People automatically assume that Since they’re mentioned these must be the things that give you the energy, but that’s not really the truth Remember that fella that made his fortune selling head on head on – apply directly to the forehead head on – apply directly to the forehead Head on apply directly to the forehead apply directly to the forehead It didn’t do anything. He never claimed that it did anything all he did was breathlessly tell you to apply it to your forehead and people Imagined that it had all sorts of health benefits. Oh some people said it cures headaches. It’s good for migraines It’ll cure impotency. It’ll cure the crop the dropsy It’ll cure leprosy who knows but just because you’re supposed to apply it directly to your forehead it Was good for you or else they wouldn’t mentioned it would they Well, that’s the same sort of marketing tactic that the makers of energy drinks use when they list all these Immensely interesting chemical names here. Oh, they’re long in there. They’re chemically sounding Let’s go through the list shall we well the first thing on here is b. Vitamins it says B. Vitamins oak Hey, well, there are four b. Vitamins that are listed riboflavin. That’s Vitamin B2 niacin that’s Vitamin B3 Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12 Let’s look at these guys. I happen to have gotten some numbers off the National institutes of health website they have all sorts of Tables and other sciency things there that they list the u.s. rda that is recommended Daily allowance and the tolerable upper intake The upper Limit before they start harming you of a lot of different things Well according to monster. It gives you 100 percent per serving of these things Well, let’s see the u.s. RDA of riboflavin. That’s one point three milligrams. I see and it doesn’t have and Tolerable upper Limit nobody has ever studied it because it’s never been a problem Vitamin B12 the u.s. RDa is two point four milligrams Also doesn’t have a tolerable upper limit because as far as we know there isn’t one these are b vitamins by the way They’re water-soluble chances are any excess is just gonna get washed out of your body Vitamin B6 now that one does have a tolerable upper limit It’s us RDA is one point three milligrams The tolerable upper limit though is one hundred milligrams Now let’s get to one of my favorites Vitamin B3 niacin the u.s. RDA of Niacin is 16 Milligrams, and that’s per serving oh, but look at this servings per container 2 so I don’t know anybody who’s going to drink half the can and then put the rest in the Refrigerator and drink it the next day You grab this thing you down the whole thing so you actually are getting two servings So you’re getting 32 milligrams of Niacin? Well guess what the tolerable upper intake? level for Niacin is 35 milligrams for the average adult male it goes up and down depending on your age and your gender but Basically with one 16 ounce can of monster energy that I have here You are getting very very close to what your body can safely tolerate for Niacin if you have too much niacin they can have interesting effects according to the mayo clinic and overdose of Niacin can cause skin flushing that’s the big one it can cause Rapid Heartbeat And it can possibly cause liver damage, so you don’t want to get too terribly much of that however again, it’s a B vitamin Primarily small excesses are going to be flushed out of your body Now let’s go into these Interesting chemically sounding names up here We’ve got the L-carnitine and the taurine let’s start with the taurine . Here’s taurine It’s a fairly little molecule that according to myth is extracted from Bull Semen well this story is bull. It is actually extracted from Bull Bile It’s found in very high concentrations in heart and muscle cells in the human body So it naturally exists in ourselves. It’s synthesized in the liver your body is loaded with it there were studies that were done that tried to test the effect of a combination of taurine and caffeine on performance and sleepiness They had various results, but Primarily what they discovered was that Taurine plus caffeine had pretty close to the same effect as caffeine by itself So the taurine really isn’t doing an awful Lot the one study that I found that concluded that taurine has a positive effect on Alertness and wakefulness was sponsored by these people you guessed it the ones who want to give you wings? speaking of bull bile No There is no solid evidence that taurine does anything yes it occurs naturally in our bodies Eating more of it doesn’t really appear to do terribly much Okay, how about this one? This is l-Carnitine? L-Carnitine also exists Naturally in our muscles there are some reports that L-Carnitine Is very very low in patients who exhibit fatigue? And it’s extremely low in patients who exhibit what we call chronic fatigue syndrome The thought then is if you swallow a bunch of it you won’t be fatigue Actually that is true. That is one of the therapies they have for chronic fatigue syndrome You have to take a gram of it twice a day That’s a thousand milligrams For four to eight weeks before you start seeing an effect and even then all the literature says there is some effect so Swallowing however much they’re going to put in this Over an hour is not going to have any real effect on you You’re just going to have a stomach full of carnitine which will go away on its own after some time there was a study done at the university of Maryland medical center to see if it had any effect on athletic performance and the Results of that study can be summarized in one word so apparently the taurine the b vitamins and the L carnitine which are so prominently labeled on this can here Really have no effect on your energy levels. They’re not going to give you wings They’re not going to allow you to lift a car or whatever the commercials say you can do and they’re not going to increase athletic performance But there’s something in here. That’s not listed on the label except it’s buried way down in the ingredients list That might be having an effect on your body, and that is this little molecule here That’s right. That’s your friend and mine caffeine Now caffeine is a molecule that all of us are familiar with we’ve seen it all over the place. It’s in coffee It’s in chocolate It’s in a lot of cola products your average cup of coffee about 8 ounces worth is going to Contain Roughly 100 milligrams of caffeine the us food and Drug administration Has stated that 400 milligrams of caffeine per Day is about as much as you want to get why is that? Caffeine is a stimulant. It makes your Central nervous system Perk up you start to release adrenaline your heart starts to beat faster You become more alert the more caffeine you get the more your body starts to get Energized in a very very similar chemical cascade to what we call the fight-or-flight response now if you want to keep pumping caffeine into your body you’re going to energize your body more and your body is an Engine what happens when you rev an engine harder and harder relentlessly? You keep pushing up the RPMs without stopping. What’s that engine going to do? Exactly now our pan of energy drink here contains about 160 Milligrams of caffeine At one of those tiny little shots of 5-hour energy those little guys that actually contains 200 Milligrams of Caffeine I did a little searching online and looked up some numbers that had been published by the nih on caffeine levels found in various food products I was sort of surprised to find that Starbucks blonde roast coffee Big 20 ounce Starbucks Blonde Roast Puffy contains 475 Milligrams of caffeine you’re already above the recommended daily intake of caffeine just with your morning blonde roast now Is this really a problem? Well it can be because if that’s the only caffeine you get during the day well alright But there’s caffeine and a lot of foods there’s caffeine hidden in many places And you may not realize that you’re getting an overdose Let’s look at this poor young fellow This is Davis Allen Cripe late of South Carolina Young Mr.. Crepe according to his friends Drank a McDonald’s McCafe latte which has 178 milligrams of caffeine a large Mountain Dew diet at 91 Milligrams And an energy drink they didn’t specify which if we assume as one of these that was 160 Milligrams which he chugged now that’s total of 429 Milligrams About a third of which he got all at once in a single Bolus at the end of his two-hour stint of drinking these things the poor kid fell over dead He was feeling light-headed he passed out according to the coroner his cause of death was cardiac arrest Likely related to Heart arrhythmia. He had no heart condition So it’s a fairly good guess that all this excess caffeine Basically drove his engine to wear out This is not the only case I’ve got a whole list of them down here They’ve been documented and you can find them if you do a search of the news We have a youngster named Dustin hood who drank three 24 ounce monsters that is 720 milligrams of caffeine almost twice the U.S Safe recommended level then went to play some basketball His heart was racing. He engaged in a physical activity that made his heart race even more and He simply keeled over dead right there on the court in Ireland in limerick there was youngster named Ross Cooney just 18 years old He was said to have consumed four red bulls. That’s a total of 450 milligrams of caffeine and then he also went out to shoot some hoops and He also fell over dead now people can Take all sorts of meaning from this basketball is deadly no admittedly this is a small sample size, but it is a Brief illustration of the sort of thing that can happen when you charge your body too far so We now know that What’s probably giving you a lot of energy is not even listed on the label up here? But there’s one thing that is In this can that is probably giving you the bulk of the jolt that you’re supposed to get the bulk of the energy comes from this dear old friend sugar This stuff is loaded with sugar. It says here on the label that one serving is 27 grams of Sugar well, let’s see here. We have 27 grams of Sugar I measured this out for you. Every good chemist has a sensitive scale in his kitchen And as you can see that’s that’s about two good heaping tablespoons of sugar And that’s just in one serving Oh, but wait, remember I said that this can contains two servings well This is the contents of this can in terms of sugar We’ve got a pretty hefty glob of sugar here right now and When you consider that sugar is? energy it gets broken down into your body into basically sparks of electricity you can see how much of that you’re starting to get Let’s say you you didn’t want to stop it at just one of these cans suppose You drank one, and then a little while later. You said, I need more energy So you drank a second one well in two cans of Monster energy 16-ounce This is the amount of sugar you are dealing with 108 Grams Can you imagine somebody handing this to you and saying here? Here’s some sugar? It’ll give you energy drink up. Oh I don’t think so That’s 16 ounce monster. What about the big? 24 ounce Monster monsters you want to drink two of those here is the volume of sugar you’re gonna wind up consuming well If you’re a very active person and you’re going to go out and run an Olympic decathlon Well, maybe this isn’t a problem for you, but most people out. There are not really all that active Let’s look back at this 108 grams that we have here That’s the prop 420 calories if you wanted to burn off that 420 calories, you would have to jog Constantly for Roughly 4 and 1/2 miles if you don’t Your body is going to take that energy and store it, and how is it going to store it? It’s going to store it as fat the volume of sugar in Two of your 24 ounce monsters this is going to be the equivalent of about 1/4 pound of fat so What’s happening when you drink your monster? Yes? You’re getting sugar. Yes, you’re getting caffeine You’re getting a lot of both. It’s giving you energy, but There’s really safer ways to get that energy Take a cup of coffee. That’s a hundred milligrams of caffeine there just put a couple of sugar packs in enough to make it sweet that is going to be enough to keep you awake, or consider this Why is it? You’re so tired Could it be that your body is trying to tell you it needs rest Maybe you’re not getting enough sleep Yes, perhaps, you work a particular shift. You’ve got to be up you’re an emergency responder, and you need that energy all right For a quick burst of energy when it’s really needed this material can be effective But if you’re going to start relying on it if you’re going to start downing one or more of these Every day or every other day All it’s going to do is make you think you’ve got lots of energy you’re going to run your body ragged and eventually your body will simply give out and quite frankly I don’t want to be reading your name in that long list of people whose deaths have been attributed to possible overdoses on Energy drinks