Killer Energy Drinks?

In case you needed another reason to nix the energy drinks, the Food and Drug Administration says that five recent deaths may be linked to Monster Energy Drinks.

We know that mixing energy drinks and booze is bad news for your health, but even without the boozy help, those cans of energy drink are still pretty unhealthy. They’re loaded with unhealthy additives like:

  • Sugars. Even energy drinks that taste terrible are loaded with as much sugar as a soda, if not more. Often, the sweetener is high fructose corn syrup.
  • Artificial sweeteners. Diet or lower-calorie energy drinks tend to use sweeteners like aspartame.
  • Artificial flavors and colors. Most energy drinks on store shelves are not made from real juice, so they need chemical flavorings and colorings to make them look and taste more appealing.
  • Stimulants. This is where the immediate health concerns come in. Energy drinks contain caffeine along with a cocktail of other stimulants, like ginseng and taurine. In moderation and on their own, these ingredients aren’t necessarily unhealthy. It’s all about the amounts, and energy drinks contain high doses of stimulants.

On top of the FDA investigation, one family is suing Monster because their 14-year-old daughter died after drinking two cans of their product in a 24-hour period. Monster is doubling down, saying that its product is totally safe and that these charges are all false.

According to Food Safety News:

The lawsuit, filed in California Superior Court in Riverside, said that after drinking two 24-ounce cans of Monster Energy on consecutive days Fournier went into cardiac arrest. She died days later on December 23, 2011 from what the lawsuit said was “cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity” that complicated a heart disorder she already had.

On Monday, FDA spokeswoman Shelly Burgess said the agency had received reports of five deaths and one heart attack that may be associated with the Monster Energy drink from 2009 through June this year.

Is drinking a Monster energy drink going to kill you? Probably not, but until the FDA investigation is through, it might be a good idea to get your energy boost elsewhere. On the next page, check out a list of five natural ways to amp up your energy without energy drinks.

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Marcus Q.

juice

5 Healthy Energy Boosters

You don’t need chemical-filled energy drinks to get you through an energy slump! Check out these natural ways to energize yourself without cracking a can.

1. Drink Water

Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to keep your energy up. The best way to get water’s benefits is to sip on a reusable bottle throughout the day. If it helps you out at first, try setting yourself a reminder to sip your water every 30 minutes. The alarm will be so annoying, that I bet you pick this habit up fast, just so you can stop hearing your phone buzz all day!

2. Have a Healthy Snack

Sometimes we have a late-afternoon slump in energy because lunch is ancient history and dinner is still hours away. Don’t reach for an energy drink or a sugar snack, though! Instead, fuel up with something healthy with a little bit of protein. Try carrots and hummus, toast with peanut butter, or a homemade granola bar to fuel up on the go!

Related Reading: 10 DIY Convenience Foods

3. Get Moving

Sitting at a desk all day is exhausting, isn’t it? When you feel yourself fading, try getting out of that chair and going for a quick walk. It doesn’t have to be a trip to the treadmill – just a five or 10-minute walk can make a big difference in your energy level.

If you can’t get out of the office for a walk, just stand up at your desk next time you take a call, and try to move around while you talk.

4. Don’t Forget to Breathe

When we’re feeling run down or stressed, we tend to slump our shoulders and take shallower breaths. Give your body a burst of good ol’ oxygen with this simple breathing exercise:

Sitting in your chair or standing up, draw your shoulders up and back, and imagine a string going up your spine, out the top of your head, and to the sky. Let the string pull your back straight, and close your eyes, if you can. Take ten deep breaths, inhaling to a count of four and exhaling to a count of eight.

5. Go Juice!

Sugar juices can give you energy, but you’ll also have a crash to deal with later. Instead of sweet juices, try doing juice shots to give your body a kickstart of healthy vitamins. My favorite juice shots are: lemon, cranberry, and ginger. Shoot one to one and half ounces of each one, and chase it with some water.

Unsweetened juice can be a little bit hard to drink at first, but after a while your palate will adjust. Once you’re used to the intense taste of these juices, you can save a little time by combining them in one glass and chugging it down or even sipping it, as your palate gets used to it.

Have you guys found any natural ways to up your energy without unhealthy energy drinks? I’ve love to hear your favorite ways in the comments!

photo by Becky Striepe

24 comments

Zac Fischl
Zac Fischl2 years ago

A healthy alternative to energy:

http://www.vemma.com/verveenergy/

http://www.whyjoinvemma.com/user-files/files/verve-vs-redbull-vs-monster.pdf

Email me for information or find the product here: zfischl.vemma.com

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KAREN G.
Karen G.3 years ago

Good to know

Ambika Choudhar Mahajan

The problem is that they are extremely popular among kids and teenagers. Sellers, being sellers, use athletes, sportspersons and cartoons to endorse these drinks to unsuspecting youngsters. Parents need to educate their kids about the disastrous side effects these so called energy drinks have and discourage their use.

Dot A.
Dot A.3 years ago

My good doctor said that sugar free energy drinks in moderation are just fine, and do no harm. - nothing 'bad' or 'damaging' in those modern day 'caffeine beverages'
~~~
all things in moderation, moderation, moderation
~~~
and if a complication of some ill health issue is involved, that would include being cautious of whatever a person intakes on a regular dietary basis
~~~
common sense in all things
~~~
as our world will undoubtedly be offering other choices of beverages (coffee bean to become rare in future), it's okay to check out the overall benefits and deficits of anything we put into our bodies, and to stay vigilant as well as open to new things

Debbie H.
Debbie H.3 years ago

I received some insight full comments on my love of the Monster. I could have a retort for each. I'll just say I appreciate everyone's thought of Monster. And leave it at that.

Wilfred F.
Wilfred F.3 years ago

Thanks, good work.

Michael Kirkby
Michael Kirkby3 years ago

Noted

Brian M.
Past Member 3 years ago

(cont.)forgot to add...energy drinks by contrast stress the heart and can easily lead to early death.

Brian M.
Past Member 3 years ago

Fruits, veges, nuts, seeds, etc.: all can be blended to create a fantastic-tasting, super-healthy smoothie. Good article.

Pamela Tracy
Pamela Tracy3 years ago

I dont care what anyone said..but when I was 59-60 and needed that 5 hour energy drink I bought a strong brew of Starbucks every morning and believe me it gave me 5 hours of energy and a darn good cup of coffee....got so I cold not do without my morning coffee....then I found out that because I had meniere's disease they say stay away from coffee but i started reading and found out that coffee helps some meniere's sufferers ....wasn't i lucky.......not a latte..just a plain cup of coffee no sugar and a little half and half and heavens for mornings..best time of day.