Author Topic: How bad are energy drinks?  (Read 7899 times)

Offline chodantraceur

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Re: How bad are energy drinks?
« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2009, 09:22:12 PM »
My friend comes into school once or twice a week with some new unheard of energy drink. He brought in one a while ago called Black Mamba. It had a warning on it that said not to give it to pregnant women or children. It also said not to drink more than three a day and had a warning saying that it did not cure sicknesses or diseases or something like that. I was really confused by that last one.

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Offline tombb

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Re: How bad are energy drinks?
« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2009, 09:43:08 PM »
Alec,
The lack of time is really not a valid excuse for just believing whatever you want.  
You can form a quick opinion, but you need to remember what you are basing it on, how much you know or not know about it, and only feel as strongly or sure about it as the degree you looked into it.  All that takes no extra time and can help you be wiser when someone questions your opinion and provides a better explanation.

Would you feel the same way if someone heard from a friend a rumor that learning parkour or doing pushups always permanently ruins people's bodies, and they just decided to be outraged at the idea of anybody doing it, without even looking into it?  Wouldn't you say they should actually spend some time to be sure if it's true or just a rumor before feeling so strongly about it?  If they really didn't have time, they shouldn't have time to care one way or another.

Or what if someone said "Alec kills kittens and people" (not true of course), should I just believe it without question and go around telling everyone to avoid you or worse just because I don't think I have time to check if it's just a rumor?
Lack of time or knowledge is just not an excuse for jumping to conclusions and acting on them this way, the same way that say a terrorist or racist is not excused for hate crimes because hey, he doesn't have time to check whatever stories he heard about how bad a group of innocent people are.

Moderation was just a side point I was making, I wouldn't normally mention it except that it's at the core of the question that was raised and it is not as obvious as you seem to suggest. For example if someone says "I will never ingest that" or "I know it's bad but I want to tell my friend just how terribly bad it is so he stops completely" (as people did in this thread), they are starting from the opposite view, that -even- in moderation it must not be good for you, which is of course false for these things, and only true for things like actual poisons etc as I mentioned.

To be clearer, moderation is not something that always applies and therefore is useless to mention, although it is a very useful principle in many situations.
For example, eggs, vitamins, and caffeine/energydrinks are good for you in moderation. On the other hand, Butane/smoking/madcowBeef are not good for you -even- in moderation.

chodantraceur,
Those are pretty normal legal disclaimers on nutritional supplements, even vitamin pills will say ask a doctor or avoid while pregnant, and in general there are a lot of things you should avoid or be more careful about in such an important stage of development.  Looking quickly at the ingredients it's again a lot of caffeine with some extra harmless vitamins and aminoacids and natural supplements (ginseng and guarana), again with the option of sugar-free or with sugar.
You would have the same disclaimers on coffee if it wasn't such an established drink.
But just from the name, "Venom Black Mamba energy drink" you know it's marketed more as a very high caffeine drink that people might drink to get the effect of several cups of coffee with the help of the extra vitamins.  But I think your friend was just trying them for the curiosity and taste more than anything else, which I can definitely relate to :D.

Offline Chris Salvato

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Re: How bad are energy drinks?
« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2009, 09:55:05 PM »
Alec,
The lack of time is really not a valid excuse for just believing whatever you want.  
You can form a quick opinion, but you need to remember what you are basing it on, how much you know or not know about it, and only feel as strongly or sure about it as the degree you looked into it.  All that takes no extra time and can help you be wiser when someone questions your opinion and provides a better explanation.

Would you feel the same way if someone heard from a friend a rumor that learning parkour or doing pushups always permanently ruins people's bodies, and they just decided to be outraged at the idea of anybody doing it, without even looking into it?  Wouldn't you say they should actually spend some time to be sure if it's true or just a rumor before feeling so strongly about it?  If they really didn't have time, they shouldn't have time to care one way or another.

Or what if someone said "Alec kills kittens and people" (not true of course), should I just believe it without question and go around telling everyone to avoid you or worse just because I don't think I have time to check if it's just a rumor?
Lack of time or knowledge is just not an excuse for jumping to conclusions and acting on them this way, the same way that say a terrorist or racist is not excused for hate crimes because hey, he doesn't have time to check whatever stories he heard about how bad a group of innocent people are.

Moderation was just a side point I was making, I wouldn't normally mention it except that it's at the core of the question that was raised and it is not as obvious as you seem to suggest. For example if someone says "I will never ingest that" or "I know it's bad but I want to tell my friend just how terribly bad it is so he stops completely" (as people did in this thread), they are starting from the opposite view, that -even- in moderation it must not be good for you, which is of course false for these things, and only true for things like actual poisons etc as I mentioned.

To be clearer, moderation is not something that always applies and therefore is useless to mention, although it is a very useful principle in many situations.
For example, eggs, vitamins, and caffeine/energydrinks are good for you in moderation. On the other hand, Butane/smoking/madcowBeef are not good for you -even- in moderation.

I feel like this response was a bit OT...and kind of out there, don't you?

Energy drinks are bad for you - they even say so on the label with a warning that says not to consume more than 3 in one day.  This isn't really a rumor.

I think this is all going to just wind up confusing the OP who shouldn't be drinking energy drinks, anyway -- thus the efficacy of this forum has been destroyed :(


Offline tombb

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Re: How bad are energy drinks?
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2009, 10:15:37 PM »
I feel like this response was a bit OT...and kind of out there, don't you?

Energy drinks are bad for you - they even say so on the label with a warning that says not to consume more than 3 in one day.  This isn't really a rumor.

I think this is all going to just wind up confusing the OP who shouldn't be drinking energy drinks, anyway -- thus the efficacy of this forum has been destroyed :(
Not really. Energy drinks (caffeine+vitamins) are not bad for you, just as vitamins are not bad for you.  Check the label on vitamin pills and it will also say you should not take more than 1~3 a day. And you shouldn't. Vitamins in the right amounts = very good for you. Vitamins in excess = bad for you.

Energy drinks are -not- bad for you, they are in the same category as vitamins, green tea or garlic extracts, etc (although many are admittedly more along the junk-food category because that's what they are trying to be).

The OP was not asking for himself, he was asking because he had heard they are bad for you and wanted to be able to go around telling others that they were killing themselves slowly and to stop drinking them completely. That was the topic and as I mentioned that was definitely an incorrect notion to have. Caffeine, ginseng, and added vitamins and aminoacids do have a place in athletic training and healthy living. Of course they are not strictly necessary, and it can be easier to accidentally go overboard, but they are actually very good for you if you use them correctly.

Offline Chris Salvato

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Re: How bad are energy drinks?
« Reply #24 on: January 05, 2009, 05:17:01 AM »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caffeine#Overuse

Quote
In large amounts, and especially over extended periods of time, caffeine can lead to a condition known as caffeinism.[67][68] Caffeinism usually combines caffeine dependency with a wide range of unpleasant physical and mental conditions including nervousness, irritability, anxiety, tremulousness, muscle twitching (hyperreflexia), insomnia, headaches, respiratory alkalosis, and heart palpitations.[69][70] Furthermore, because caffeine increases the production of stomach acid, high usage over time can lead to peptic ulcers, erosive esophagitis, and gastroesophageal reflux disease.[71]

One energy drink a day (which many would consider "moderation") can very well lead to these effects since the concentration of caffeine is so high.

More people than you realize develop pre-cancer/cancerous conditions in the GI tract from the esophogus all the way to the colon from excessive caffeine intake.  This is not that hard to do when you take in 150mg-350mg in a single can (ref: caffeine content of drinks.  Moderation here is not so simple unless you are educated on fitness/nutrition.

Also, I have looked at several vitamin labels in the past -- no such warnings exist unless there is an abnormally high concentration of heavy metals (iron, aluminum, etc.)  It is very hard to overdose on most vitamins.  Comparing vitamin consumption to caffeine consumption here is a bit misplaced, in my opinion.

Caffeine does not *need* to have its place in training.  Not like vitamins and minerals do..not even close.  If you need caffeine for an 8 hour drive starting at 12 midnight, for some reason, a cup of coffee (100 mg in 8 oz) or even tea (50 mg in 8 oz) is just fine so long as your body is deprived of it on the regular.

Energy drinks are thought of as "drinks" not "tools".  It is hard to redefine moderation to a community that drinks 8 Sprites (35mg x 8 = 280mg) a day in addition to an energy drink or two.

In this light, despite the fact that its "just caffeine", I still urge people to consider these products as "bad for you".

Offline Jake Vigil

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Re: How bad are energy drinks?
« Reply #25 on: January 05, 2009, 05:26:52 AM »
+1 Chris. Thank you.
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Offline tombb

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Re: How bad are energy drinks?
« Reply #26 on: January 05, 2009, 11:25:34 AM »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caffeine#Overuse

Quote
In large amounts, and especially over extended periods of time, caffeine can lead to a condition known as caffeinism.[67][68] Caffeinism usually combines caffeine dependency with a wide range of unpleasant physical and mental conditions including nervousness, irritability, anxiety, tremulousness, muscle twitching (hyperreflexia), insomnia, headaches, respiratory alkalosis, and heart palpitations.[69][70] Furthermore, because caffeine increases the production of stomach acid, high usage over time can lead to peptic ulcers, erosive esophagitis, and gastroesophageal reflux disease.[71]

One energy drink a day (which many would consider "moderation") can very well lead to these effects since the concentration of caffeine is so high.
You have to separate long term continuous consumption of high doses from occasional consumption. There is a big difference. You don't develop caffeinism just from occasionally drinking a can of energy drinks, which is again at most the same caffeine as in 2 cups of coffee.

What you can develop from just drinking a few energy drinks in one day if you are not used to caffeine is palpitations, possibly a temporary stomach upset, and difficulty falling asleep that night. If you experience that, you drinked too much... You will be fine the next day, just be aware of your tolerance and do go overboard.

Similarly, if you are a heavy habitual coffee drinker and notice you crave coffee a bit too much, feel tired when you are not drinking it, and have anxiety, you probably have gone overboard and should really cut down on it. Most habitual coffee drinkers do not fall into this category however, the same way that most people who eat food are not morbidly obese.

I personally don't like coffee so my intake of caffeine is usually mostly limited to chocolate, but again I think we all know how to tell these situations apart.

More people than you realize develop pre-cancer/cancerous conditions in the GI tract from the esophogus all the way to the colon from excessive caffeine intake.  This is not that hard to do when you take in 150mg-350mg in a single can (ref: caffeine content of drinks.  Moderation here is not so simple unless you are educated on fitness/nutrition.
I am not sure where you get the idea of caffeine causing digestive tract cancer. Evidence shows the opposite, that regular consumption of coffee (about 2 cups a day which is about 200-300mg of caffeine) -reduces- risk of colon cancer (see
http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/97/4/282 for example).

Also, I have looked at several vitamin labels in the past -- no such warnings exist unless there is an abnormally high concentration of heavy metals (iron, aluminum, etc.)  It is very hard to overdose on most vitamins.  Comparing vitamin consumption to caffeine consumption here is a bit misplaced, in my opinion.
Vitamin labels do contain warnings, as they should.

Generally it's at least two warnings "WARNING: Accidental overdose of iron-containing products is a leading cause of fatal poisoning in children under 6..." and a general warning about the longer term possibility of overdose of vitamin A,D or E, ususally something like "do not take this product if taking other vitamin A supplements" etc.

Iron is not an abnormal nutrient, it's an -essential- one, but it just has a low dosage threshold for going from very healthy to toxic (while the threshold on things like water is very high).

Of course I agree it's very unlikely to overdose on vitamins, but that's because people mostly stick with directions instead of treating it as a food.

So again, caffeine has many health advantages, it has its place in training and health like many other supplements (vitamins, aminoacids, ginseng, green tea, etc).

It is -not- "bad for you", although it should be treated like vitamins and not go above healthy doses.
I would not recommend drinking energy drinks casually, and there are easy ways to tell if you went overboard even with just one, if you feel your heart is beating a bit too strongly or don't feel as good, you went overboard.

And at least some of the energy drinks out there are packaged more as recreational junk food you drink more for the weird colors, sugary taste and alertness, which has its place in life but it's not exactly what you would want to include in a normal healthy diet.

But otherwise again if you know what you are doing and planned carefully caffeine in the right healthy amounts and at the right strategic times helps your system burn more fat and spare muscles and has many other protective and beneficial advantages.

Offline Chris Salvato

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Re: How bad are energy drinks?
« Reply #27 on: January 05, 2009, 12:43:25 PM »
Similarly, if you are a heavy habitual coffee drinker and notice you crave coffee a bit too much, feel tired when you are not drinking it, and have anxiety, you probably have gone overboard and should really cut down on it. Most habitual coffee drinkers do not fall into this category however, the same way that most people who eat food are not morbidly obese.

Yes I understand it is long term continuous consumption -- wish there was a study to back me up but I am fairly certain over 50% (i would guess, if I could be more bold, more like 75%) of American's consume over 300 mg a day between their sodas, chocolate, daily coffee/tea, etc.

This is long term consumption!

I am not sure where you get the idea of caffeine causing digestive tract cancer. Evidence shows the opposite, that regular consumption of coffee (about 2 cups a day which is about 200-300mg of caffeine) -reduces- risk of colon cancer (see
http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/97/4/282 for example).

I am not sure where you got the idea that I was only talking about colon cancer :)

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (Acid Reflux) is a leading cause for MANY problems in health -- including causing cancerous changes to occur in the physiology of the esophageal cells (e.g. going from columnar to cuboidal types) which is dangerous.  There are several factors similar to this that are linked to high caffeine consumptions -- just lumping it all together under "cancer" is dramatically easier than explaining each one.

Generally it's at least two warnings "WARNING: Accidental overdose of iron-containing products is a leading cause of fatal poisoning in children under 6..." and a general warning about the longer term possibility of overdose of vitamin A,D or E, ususally something like "do not take this product if taking other vitamin A supplements" etc.

That's exactly what i just said, heh

It is -not- "bad for you", although it should be treated like vitamins and not go above healthy doses.
I would not recommend drinking energy drinks casually, and there are easy ways to tell if you went overboard even with just one, if you feel your heart is beating a bit too strongly or don't feel as good, you went overboard.

And at least some of the energy drinks out there are packaged more as recreational junk food you drink more for the weird colors, sugary taste and alertness, which has its place in life but it's not exactly what you would want to include in a normal healthy diet.

But otherwise again if you know what you are doing and planned carefully caffeine in the right healthy amounts and at the right strategic times helps your system burn more fat and spare muscles and has many other protective and beneficial advantages.

The problem here is that you and I know the same exact things.  We are on the same exact level here.  You are just talking to a different audience than I am...an audience that does not frequent this board.

No offense intended to the people who post here, but the people here are not the kinds of people who understand how to listen to their bodies, just yet...this is why I post here - to help them learn how to do so.  Identifying the symptoms you are outlining is hard for them...and most people who are just starting don't care. 

Go into a sales office or a meeting of a major corporation or into a post office's back room where all of the employees work.  Observe their eating habits (at least 2 cups of coffee before 10 AM, i will put down my savings account on that.)  These are every day people -- most of which (more than 90%, i would guess) don't give 2 shits about their health.  The other 10% may care but have no idea what they are doing or how to listen to their body.  As such, you see gross consumption of tons of stuff that may be good in moderation - sugar, caffeine, etc.

The people here are young, mostly in high school or just starting/completing college.  Their parents, for the most part, are the same everyday people.  The same people who eat a danish for breakfast and wash it down with 2 cups of coffee with 2 sugars each...then drink 5 sodas throughout the day.  If they really don't care, they may have an energy drink or two because they may be "dragging".  This is how these people are raised to eat (its America, after all) and I give them credit for coming here to learn how to do better.

I understand everything you are saying here -- it makes sense and is sound information.  It is, however, misplaced.  The audience here is not as familiar understanding applying such advice.  These people need advice geared towards the novice with recommended reading to "wise up" and learn more so that they can branch out and learn more details later.

The people on the performance menu post more similarly to you and contains an audience that is more prepared for these kinds of presentations...which is why I have suggested that forum to you before.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2009, 12:45:04 PM by Chris Salvato »

Offline tombb

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Re: How bad are energy drinks?
« Reply #28 on: January 05, 2009, 01:26:24 PM »
Chris,
I agree with you and with your concern that people might take these explanations in the wrong way, say as a license to consume things in misguided ways.
Like you, I would want to avoid it, and would agree that a lot of people do make poor choices with respect to food, energy drinks etc unfortunately.

But I am also concerned about the opposite extreme, which I think is how the OP started this post.
I could concede that going overboard in the opposite direction of trying to avoid things too much probably won't be as bad for them, but it's still incorrect.

Basically I would tell people, as you would, "if you are not sure, you might be better off just avoiding energy drinks".  However I would also say "but also if you are not sure, you should not go around telling others that caffeine or essential fats are killing them slowly regardless of the circumstances, because there are situations where they can be very healthy too". That's the point I was making.


Also just as a side note on acid reflux, I agree, acid reflux regardless of the cause (even from eating too much) is very bad especially if you have for long periods of time.  But it's just a very different situation from actual carcinogen chemicals because in this case it's the reflux itself that eventually causes problems.

You don't get acid reflux from caffeine, you get it from excess long term consumption (of caffeine -or- food) eventually leading to increased stomach acidity, then to heartburn, and after prolonged periods of continuous upset stomach and heartburn events, acid burps etc eventually you can get acid reflux, and if you still keep ignoring all these symptoms, you can even eventually get cancer (we are probably talking about years of continuous untreated heartburns by now).

But you can just as easily prevent it by taking note of the first symptoms and reducing your food or coffee intake to normal levels so the symptoms and health risks disappear.  I would think it's mostly an intuitive response to the symptoms. If you get a stomachache or heartburn every time you eat or drink a lot of something, you should stop taking so much of it so you don't feel bad anymore.

Offline Alec Furtado

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Re: How bad are energy drinks?
« Reply #29 on: January 05, 2009, 08:45:59 PM »
Well I think we have answered the OP's questions quite thoroughly so I'd say it's safe to go somewhat off topic. :P


tombb, I completely agree with you but it's just illogical to call everybody to be perfect. I wish it were so and it certainly disappoints me but it just doesn't work that way. As Chris said, many could not care less. They need a quick and clear answer that is most applicable to them.

I could concede that going overboard in the opposite direction of trying to avoid things too much probably won't be as bad for them, but it's still incorrect.
Of course it is... but what can you do? If you end up typing them a book considering all possibilities and contexts, they will probably end up not reading it or just skimming through it and getting a wrong idea or nothing at all (complete understanding would be rare. I even actually read through and I don't understand sometimes.).

For example, for this topic my thinking was:
-Every once in a while? Not good but "won't kill you." [not worth a lot of time, if any]
-Never is preferable [worth a bit of time]
-Overconsumption, something I see every single day and even know someone who died from it? Not good at all. [definitely worth time to address]
So I pick the last one and discuss that. The danger of not mentioning the other stuff in depth is.... ? It is an incomplete answer but it supplies the information that was pertinent to the poster, which is a goal as well (as long as it isn't dangerously incomplete, but I would say everyone here has great intentions).
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Offline Justin L.

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Re: How bad are energy drinks?
« Reply #30 on: January 20, 2009, 02:22:58 PM »
advertised by some really extreme hardcore bad-ass snowboarders, that they are somehow drinking something "healthy" and therefore the energy drink is in some way a necessary supplement for training.

That's way true. The advertisers could sell a grains of salt and make millions, because of how they present the advertisement. All kids see are "Holy crap! That guy is a great snowboarder! I'm so getting those gloves!" And they go out and buy some piece of crap gloves and think it'll help them, but it really doesn't do anything.

Same with energy drinks. The whole ad, they just show some muscle guy/girl running full speed with absolutely no effort. The kids go "Oh god. That drink can help me with my track skills! I won't be so tired!" They don't realize it's just a professional runner.

I hate the advertising companies, especially the - No, I won't go into that. I'll be sitting here for too long.

Offline Josh Boggs

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Re: How bad are energy drinks?
« Reply #31 on: July 26, 2010, 09:58:34 PM »
these are some of the longest answers ive ever seen  ???
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Offline Charles "Fel" Harageones

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Re: How bad are energy drinks?
« Reply #32 on: August 16, 2010, 03:36:26 AM »
I used to be really heavy into energy drinks. From that, i know that I have either  long term damage of something in the kidney area, or kidney stones.  If i have more than one cup of coffee or one energy drink, I have a gently throbbing ache internally...  around where the kidneys are. Every time I pee I brace myself for pain (just in case).

But, that was me overusing them for an extended period. As in... 5 to six a day, sometimes 3 in the course of an hour

Offline Steve Low

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Re: How bad are energy drinks?
« Reply #33 on: August 16, 2010, 09:37:16 AM »
I used to be really heavy into energy drinks. From that, i know that I have either  long term damage of something in the kidney area, or kidney stones.  If i have more than one cup of coffee or one energy drink, I have a gently throbbing ache internally...  around where the kidneys are. Every time I pee I brace myself for pain (just in case).

But, that was me overusing them for an extended period. As in... 5 to six a day, sometimes 3 in the course of an hour

Energy drinks don't cause kidney stones or problems... you may want to see a doc for that, heh..
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Offline hfksla

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Re: How bad are energy drinks?
« Reply #34 on: August 16, 2010, 06:47:02 PM »
old thread is old :)
but kinda glad for the bump, always telling people that energy drinks are bad, but never had the info to back it up
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Offline Alec Furtado

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Re: How bad are energy drinks?
« Reply #35 on: August 17, 2010, 08:27:25 PM »
old thread is old :)
but kinda glad for the bump, always telling people that energy drinks are bad, but never had the info to back it up
Not all energy drinks. There are better kinds that tend to be called "premium" energy drinks. That's not to say that they are better than simply living healthily but they are pretty good. I have my own favorite that I get regularly, though still don't necessarily use regularly.
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Offline Alec Furtado

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Re: How bad are energy drinks?
« Reply #36 on: August 20, 2010, 08:10:32 PM »
Amp got themselves an energy "juice" (just heard it on the radio today).

http://energydrinkingredients.com/amp-energy-juice

Basically still a lot of caffeine/gaurana and 40+ grams of sugar with practically 0 B12, totaling up to almost 200 calories. Meh.

Juice = marketing ploy? Though, if you look at Naked Juice (which tastes dang good), it has like 60 grams of sugar (which causes a headache that drowns out the awesome taste...).
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Offline tibo

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Re: How bad are energy drinks?
« Reply #37 on: September 13, 2010, 01:00:55 AM »
my story is this...

i used to drink energy drinks so often (now i hate them so much i yell at people who drink them)
and at least once a day, my chest would start burning. i believe, if im not wrong, its some sort of minor heartburn caused by the caffeine, and its not good. also, theres sooo many chemicals in it.
it doesnt even give u energy lol
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