Originally published October 26 2012
Do highly-caffeinated drinks like Monster Energy pose a death risk to people who drink them?
by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
(NaturalNews) They continue to be all the rage today, particularly among the masses of chronically-fatigued individuals and young people seeking a rapid energy boost. But highly-caffeinated beverages like Monster Energy and Red Bull are increasingly finding themselves implicated in wrongful death accusations, as the drinks typically contain caffeine levels up to 14 times higher than a normal cup of coffee, which some allege can lead to potentially-fatal health problems.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reportedly been receiving more and more reports about energy drinks causing serious injuries and death, including the now-circulating report of a 14-year-old Maryland girl who died not long after drinking two cans of Monster Energy in a 24-hour period. The girl's parents claim the drinks were responsible for triggering cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity, which the Monster Energy company vehemently denies.
But the FDA says it has also received at least five other reports of death associated with energy drinks, as well as one heart attack, since 2009. Though this number is relatively low compared to the number of people that die every year from FDA-approved pharmaceutical drugs, it is still a point of concern for some who are fearful that energy drinks are dangerous. At this time; however, no causal link between the drinks and serious health problems has been unequivocally identified.
Critics of energy drinks point to extremely high levels of caffeine as the primary culprit in their potential toxicity, noting that the Maryland girl drank a total of 480 milligrams of caffeine between the two cans of Monster Energy. To put this amount of caffeine into perspective, this would be the same as drinking about 14 12-ounce cans' worth of Coca-Cola during the same time period.
On the flip side, energy drinks with similar ingredient profiles, though perhaps with less caffeine, have been safely consumed in many other countries for many decades, long before they became a novelty here in the U.S. And in each of the cases brought forth for media display thus far, the individuals that consumed the drinks had preexisting or other unrelated health conditions that may have been coincidentally associated with consuming energy drinks.
So is there any validity to the claims that energy drinks are dangerous, or is all the media fanfare just an overblown attempt to increase FDA control over this particular segment of the food sector? FDA-approved pharmaceutical drugs, after all, kill at least 100,000 people every year, and have collectively killed at least 30 million people since 1998, with not so much as a peep from the mainstream media about this societal holocaust. Why, then, are they all of a sudden so focused on energy drinks?
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