Energy Drinks Linked with Mysterious Deaths

11/16/2012

5-Hour Energy drinks have Food and Drug Administration (FDA) experts talking, ever since 13 mysterious deaths connected to the product and one emergency abortion occurred.

Recently, a popular energy drink, Monster, underwent similar allegations, with consumers alleging five deaths associated with the drink.

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Woah, woah, woah...are you sure you want to be drinking that?

So, therein lies the question, to drink or not to drink…the energy drink?

5-Hour Energy “shots” come in 2-ounce containers and carry roughly 215 milligrams of caffeine. Compare that to an eight ounce cup of coffee – which is packing roughly 100 to 150 milligrams of the potent drug – in a fraction of the weight!

So it’s not just that the contents themselves are questionable – which by itself is alarming, but the concentration of said questionable ingredients is excessive and overindulgent.

This much caffeine combined with an undiagnosed heart condition can spell disaster.

In addition to caffeine, the major acting ingredient in 5-Hour Energy is taurine. Taurine is believed to increase athletic and cognitive performance; hence why the amino acid is being added to energy drinks typically consumed in all-night study sessions or mid-afternoon work days.

Alternatives to Energy Drinks

So, be it you or your college-aged son or daughter, what are some healthier alternatives to these toxic drinks? Here’s a list of options for how to get your energy up without guzzling mystery drinks:

1. If possible, take a cold shower. Obviously you can’t do this at 2pm, but if you wake up in the morning and you’re contemplating skipping your morning shower (maybe you’re one of those women whose hair looks better dirtier) go for the shower – you’ll feel more altert and awake

2. Steal a 20-minute power nap. Twenty minutes is the golden number. It’s the perfect amount of time to revive your body and give your mind a rest. If it’s a nice day out, take a seat in the sun. If it’s chilly, see if you can rest at home or somewhere out of sight of colleagues.

3. Avoid carbs. Though delicious, carbs will not only make you hungrier earlier in the day, but they will also make you crash. Carbs are loaded with sugar which can be hard to digest, and you’ll find that your bodies energy goes towards breaking down those carbohydrates, and not towards helping you finish up that final project.

4. Carbs – the night before. Trying to work out but you never have the energy at the end of the day? One time when carbs are actually very beneficial is the night before a competition or physical event. Have spaghetti for dinner – only one to two servings – and get a good night’s sleep. You’ll be good to go to the gym in the morning or after work!

5. The big three. There’s no alternative to a good diet, regular exercise and a consistent sleep cycle. If you’re repeatedly getting tired and don’t know why – make sure you evaluate these things in your life, you may need to add an hour or two to your sleep cycle or workout a bit more often, but whatever you chose to do, you will definitely feel the benefits.

If there’s one thing to take away…

Don’t mess with energy drinks when you aren’t sure of the result. Especially if you’re pregnant, have a pre-existing heart condition or genetic disposition to stroke, heart disease and any other chronic illness, you don’t want to be playing around with these!

Try to find your healthy alternative to these drinks and avoid pumping unnecessary chemicals, sugar and caffeine into your body!

By: Jen Wolfe

For More on Fitness and Nutrition:

How to Lose Weight

10 Healthy Fall Foods

8 Ways to Beat Stress


The Discovery Fit and Health team brings you the latest (and most interesting) health news as well as exclusive interviews, video clips, and other juicy tidbits from your favorite shows.
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