In the last few years, energy drinks, like Red Bull and Rockstar have become increasingly popular. Sales on these type of products are estimated in the billions which seems comparable to the diet industry. And they don't look to be stopping any time soon with an annual increase of 55%.
These energy drinks have anywhere from 50mg to over 500mg of caffeine per container. A standard brewed coffee of 6 oz. has 80mg to 150mg and a 12 oz. soft drink 35 mg. Some researchers feel that these drinks need labels of not only the caffeine content but also warnings of the possible effects of caffeine intoxication, something a lot of people have never heard of or even considered.
One study with 469 college age students, an often targeted audience for these energy drink advertisers, showed that 51% consumed an energy drink in the last week and about a third had weekly "jolt and crash" episodes. Another 19% experienced heart palpitations. And even scarier than that, almost a third of the students mixed energy drinks and alcohol in the last month!
Another worry among this population is the relationship between energy drinks and the abuse of non-medical prescription drugs.
As worrisome as that is (and it is), another group, caffeinated moms, are increasing their caffeine consumption, including different forms of energy drinks. One mom said, "I need about four energy drinks, three cups of coffee and a six-pack of soda every day."
I think in general, we are a very caffeinated society. During high school and college, I heavily relied on caffeine to get through my day. Plus, half the time, I used it as a substitute for a real meal which really doesn't do much when you're trying to study for a test. I probably would have gotten into energy drinks, but I tasted one once, and it was awful!
In the past, I've tried to completely cut out coffee and all caffeinated beverages. I probably could have done it, but honestly, I like the taste and smell of coffee a lot. I do, however, drink decaf most days in the mornings. There is one exception, and that is driving. I have no problem chewing Jolt caffeinated gum if I have to.. That'll likely be the case this Friday when I'm driving long distance.