It is not known if it will be a branded product or marketed as an energy drink. It is easy for younger people to believe that energy drinks should be trendy, high-tech, and cool because of the branding. Red Bull spends large amounts of money advertising on different media platforms to create this image of what a quality beverage should taste like. Red Bull also organizes worldwide events to highlight daring stunt performers who leap off cliffs and perform tricks. They are all about young people with disposable income. Their commercials attract four times more viewers aged 18-25 than those aged 25-35. This is absurd considering that we Americans in capitalist America are supposed to have the ability to purchase what we want, regardless of our age (Hartmann). Yet marketing works.
It is becoming more common for energy drinks to be targeted directly at adolescents and children.
Red Bull’s website, redbullusa.com, features images of young people participating in sports. It also states that Red Bull “gives you wings.” This reflects the notion of children as young as 12 years old feeling they need energy drinks to play sports well. Red Bull’s advertising does not target children directly, but it is targeted at younger people who want to feel cool. Red Bull heavily markets on social media such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. Their commercials are viewed by many people between 18 and 25 years old because they use Twitter and Facebook to share information.
This flavor of capitalism also includes a focus on cost-cutting to make more money. Guarana Antarctica, a Brazilian energy drink company, is one example. The Brazilian company Guarana Antarctica is currently being investigated for allegedly adulterating their drink with urea (a chemical excreted from urine and animals). They are adding pee to energy drinks. It is safer to cut corners when producing the product.
Two main ingredients in most energy drinks include taurine and caffeine. Taurine, an amino acid, is presumably named after the Latin term for the bull. However, I am not sure why this amino acid is called that. According to popular belief, Brazilian bulls are more taurine-rich than cows, so they are stronger (Hartmann). Although I don’t know what this means in terms of caffeine and taurine levels, my little science knowledge tells me that I get a better energy source from my morning coffee than I do with energy drinks.
Caffeine can be found in coffee, beans, seeds, and certain fruits. However, it is a stimulant that is also found in some foods. Amazingly, caffeine has existed for thousands of years, and it took only a few hundred to develop a way to make it into pills, powders, or liquids so that people can take it with them everywhere. Although energy drinks have different amounts of caffeine, a 16-ounce Red Bull has 80 mg of caffeine. The caffeine content of a tall Starbucks coffee is only 60 milligrams. This is twice the caffeine found in an 8-ounce Coca-Cola.
People don’t think about how much caffeine they consume every day, particularly since coffee and soda are so popular. While the average person should limit their caffeine intake to 400 mg, most students consume twice as much or more (Hartmann). This is about the same logic as the double whopper with cheese and fries.
Three things make energy drinks more time-saving: It takes less time to make them, less to prepare them, and less time for them to kick in. It is easier to forget about the negative effects of drinking energy drinks. Bessman says that energy drinks can mask fatigue caused by sleep deprivation, hard work, or both (C).
In 2007, a study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that energy drink users are more likely than others to be involved in fights, damage property, drive drunk or commit suicide. Australian researchers also found a connection between hard rock music and the use of cocaine among teens with hearing loss (Hartmann). It is clear that kids are not benefiting from energy drinks, whether they’re trying to promote capitalism or any other reason.
Recently, I saw a commercial featuring Lucozade Energy Drink vitamins. It featured a man taking his daily vitamin. The camera pans to him doing Jack Bauer-esque work and playing basketball. Although they try to sell energy drinks to increase energy, it is just a lazy shortcut.
Advertisements for energy drinks claim they can increase concentration and even improve performance in sports. The Lucozade advertisement shows a man who has taken his vitamin suddenly displaying “out-of-this world” basketball skills. He puts on a great show against other men.
Krishnan Mahadevan is a University of Pennsylvania football team physician and says it is safe to consume energy drinks in small amounts before you start exercising (Bessman). Because people sometimes believe they can do more than their bodies can handle, they end up driving at 100 mph or thinking they can because they have an energy drink.
One of the biggest problems with energy drinks is that consumers aren’t sure what they’re consuming. This makes me wonder if there are other ingredients in them than taurine and caffeine. Because they don’t contain more than 60 mg per serving, energy-drink producers aren’t required to disclose exactly what their products include.
Monster Energy drink makers have always listed caffeine as their only ingredient. However, other ingredients could be dangerous, like guarana. Bessman says that guarana contains more caffeine than coffee beans. “But most scientists disagree,” says Bessman.
Consuming too many ingredients can lead to serious health problems. This is especially true since every energy drink contains different ingredients and a different mix of ingredients. Five-Hour Energy, for example, contains 12 grams of vitamins, which can cause nausea and heart palpitations. Carnitine is an amino acid that aids in converting fat to energy. Bessman claims that too much carnitine can cause “swelling in the brain.” What is in an energy drink, other than that?
Living Essentials LLC’s Adam Salandra is a spokesperson for the company. They make a 5-hour Energy shot (and 10+Energy multivitamin fluid shot).
Yet, there are also other ingredients. According to an internal company document obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the drink contains “gaba, ginkgo biloba root extract, panax Ginseng root extract, and Guarana Seed Extract” (Bessman). The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says that this is an incomplete list.
Why are energy drinks containing herbs? Although I have known people who drink chamomile to aid in sleep, I’ve never met anyone who would take it before going to work.
Why not drink coffee while studying or working? It is legal and contains less caffeine than energy drinks. Bessman says that it contains less caffeine than most energy drinks.
Additionally, coffee doesn’t contain any herbs that are found in energy drinks. It is easy to see how people might feel tempted to purchase an energy drink because they don’t have the time or patience to make coffee. However, it usually takes less than ten minutes to brew a cup of coffee. You will then get the caffeine you want and all the nutrients you need.
What is the Average Caffeine Content in an Energy Drink?
Energy drinks (mg caffeine) Monster energy drink (16oz. 242 Rockstar energy drink (16 Fl Oz) 160 Pimp juice Red Bull Energy Drink (8.4oz). 80 Amp 120 “(amounts for 8 oz. Serving Size
Source: US Food and Drug Administration. “Questions & Answers About Caffeine” Last modified January 19, 2013. Web accessed March 5, 2014.
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