Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar, Amp, NOS, Full Throttle. These are the names of the top selling energy drink brands. These products promise consumers increased energy. But rather than providing real energy, many energy drinks are actually stimulants.
Energy drinks are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is because they are considered “dietary supplements.” The absence of regulation means that these products’ labels do not always reveal how much of an ingredient you are consuming.
Energy drinks pose a number of health concerns. Large amounts of caffeine and similar ingredients found in energy drinks have been known to cause heart palpitations, seizures, heart attacks and even sudden death. According to the FDA, voluntary reports submitted by doctors, consumers and others have mentioned several brands of energy drinks in connection with at least 18 deaths and 150 injuries since 2004.
Health experts are advocating for regulation. In a recent letter, doctors and other health professionals urged the FDA to begin regulating energy drinks. Their recommendations include restricting caffeine content and mandating that caffeine content be disclosed on product labels.
Monster Energy Corp. has made some changes. Amid increased scrutiny and a lawsuit, Monster Energy Corp. recently began marketing its products as beverages. The company will now include the caffeine content on its products’ labels and will be regulated by the FDA. Whether other companies will follow Monster’s lead remains to be seen.
For more on energy drinks, see:
- Aleccia, J. (2013). Monster says its drinks didn’t kill girl, 14. NBC News. http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/04/17181041-monster-says-its-drinks-didnt-kill-girl-14.
- Cooperman, T. (2012). The dangers of energy drinks. DoctorOz.com. http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/dangers-energy-drinks.
- Davies, L. (2013). Energy-drink ads don’t tell full story. San Francisco Chronicle. http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Energy-drink-ads-don-t-tell-full-story-4176551.php.
- Doctors urge FDA to limit caffeine content in energy drinks. (2013). FoxNews.com. http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/03/20/doctors-urge-fda-to-limit-caffeine-content-in-energy-drinks/.
- Wilson, J. (2013). Monster Energy adds caffeine content to labels. CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/21/health/monster-energy-beverages/index.html.