Thursday, September 25, 2008

Energy drinks - friend or foe

I have to admit, I've never tasted one of the so-called energy drinks like Red Bull or any other brand. Likely because I'm afraid of what that type of sugar/caffeine/chemical mix may do to my heart. I've already had an ICU experience as my heart decided to do some funny things.

Also, caffeine doesn't do anything for me. When I used to work nights, if I was tired, I was encouraged to drink coffee, but it never kept me awake. I can drink coffee before I go to bed and still have the same type of sleep (lousy!) as I would have had without it. So, the caffeine appeal goes right over my head. However, it's not bypassing the youth, if you take a look at their sales and their presence in just about every store you enter.

My first question is why do we need these drinks. Is our society spinning so quickly that we can't get by on sleep any more? I know that in every generation, there was something that was sold or available to be used as a pick-me-up, a study aid, or something to help you party longer and harder. But, this time, it's right in our face and being sold in our stores. Legally. And to any age, although admittedly, some of the drinks do say that they're not meant for children. Well, neither are cigarettes and booze, but teens get them anyway.

Now, there's an alert out by the medical community about the dangers of these drinks and caffeine intoxication. What is not being said though, is what about the dependence on these drinks too? If we're hooking teens on these high caffeine, high sugar drinks now, what may they be wanting to use later?

I worry about products like this. I don't even like to hear people saying they "need" their coffee to get started in the morning. I do have a cup of coffee every morning because I like the taste. But, for various reasons, I've gone several mornings without coffee and my day has been exactly the same as those with coffee. But, it's common place for just about everyone, every morning to say, things like, "I can't think straight, I haven't had my coffee yet," or "don't talk to me, I still have to have my coffee." My fear is that this will get even worse as our kids are getting hooked earlier on these types of stimulants.

What do you think?

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