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Energy Drinks Might Kill You, Unless You Listen to Red Bull & Rockstar Proponents

by Dr. Stephen Gangemi on February 15, 2011

Energy drinks like Red Bull and Monster won’t just make your kid hyper, but a new study out by the University Of Miami School Of Medicine says energy drinks may “put some children at risk for adverse health events, especially those with diabetes, seizures, cardiac abnormalities or mood and behavior disorders.” The study also goes on to say that the drinks can cause seizures or even death if used excessively.

Energy drinks have no therapeutic benefit to children, or any person for that matter, and many people over-do stimulant beverages to stay awake, pull an all-nighter while studying or partying, or just to give them some sort of hopeless energy to get through the day. The sugar content, as well as stimulants added such as caffeine and guarana, are linked to numerous health problems, though if you choose to listen to Dr. Maureen Storey, senior vice president of science policy for the American Beverage Association, you may think this is all a bunch of bull (no relationship to Red Bull).

Who is Dr. Maureen Storey? Well, I personally had field-day learning about her after reading the recent UM report and her position on the matter with regards to our ABA. Maureen has worked for Kellogg Company where she worked on nutrition research and marketing. I can’t prove it, but I have strong feelings that she was in close with Tony the Tiger.

Maureen is also a strong proponent of high fructose corn syrup. Her quote – “I hope that our research helps dispel the urban myths that have gained momentum about high-fructose corn syrup.” She along with many powerful organizations have strong ties to our corn production. They know HFCS is linked to many health problems, from obesity to diabetes to even cancers, and they’re trying to change the name to “corn sugar” so we all feel just a little bit better about it.

How about another great Dr. Storey quote? In regards to a study linking sugar and soda to obesity she says, “Portion sizes have expanded dramatically and it is simply wrong to blame increases in obesity on food or beverages that contain carbohydrates.” Right, excess carbohydrates especially all the sugar people are consuming have no relationship, despite countless studies and anthropological evidence.

And the best for last as Maureen thinks that if you want to stay hydrated, then yes, water is the way to go, but why not get it in a tasty sweetened beverage? She says, “Soda is comprised mostly of water. A full-calorie soft drink has 90 percent water, and a diet soft drink is 99 percent water. Water is the most important nutrient that we have…” Further, “Of nutritional value, there is either high-fructose corn syrup or sucrose, and that does provide energy or carbohydrates. And if we are active and need a refreshing beverage after a nice, long walk or a run, you can have a beverage and quench your thirst and stay hydrated.” And then when she was asked if she was advocating a person consuming a whopping 22-34 grams of sugar in a beverage her response was, “Well, I don’t think it’s nutritionally unsound. There are some studies that show that particularly with children, children who have been exercising may not drink enough water to get back to the hydration point that they need to be at. So with a little bit of flavoring and a little bit of sweetness, they will drink enough, then, to get back to where they need to be.” Her video at the ABA can been seen here – she likes “beverages” for hydration since hey, they’ve got water in them.

Dr. Storey, you get the Dr. Gangemi “What Are You Thinking?” award. Congratulations. Are you on Cocaine? And by that I mean Cocaine the energy drink, of course.

I'm a board certified chiropractic physician and clinical nutritionist with a passion for true natural health care. I implement dietary & nutritional therapies, exercise & movement practices, and lifestyle changes along with manual therapy techniques to help the body heal and prevent illness and injuries.


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  1. Julie permalink

    The sad news is that there are many uneducated people who would believe Dr. Storey because of her position in nutrition research. I’d be interested to know if she has children. If she does, I’d love to be a fly on her wall after they’ve had their recommended amount of “water” for the day.

  2. alberta permalink

    I would like to know how you feel about the 5 hour energy drinks. They claim to be all natural?
    thank you

  3. All of the 5-hour Energy drinks contain sucralose (Splenda), so they are not all natural. The 3 varieties also contain preservatives as well as artificial flavors. They work off not just the caffeine in them (which is equivalent to 1-2 cups of coffee), but also because of the citicoline in the contain, which is a psychostimulant.

    I don’t think kids should ever be using these types of “supplements” (really they’re drugs – caffeine is a drug), nor should most adults. If you’re fighting in Afghanistan and need to stay awake to stay alive, then 5-hour Energy may be beneficial, anything is better than dying. But for most, your energy should come from being healthy and fit, not from any stimulant.

  4. Ilove_redBull permalink

    RedBull may not be the best beverage to consume, especially as a substitute for a glass of water, however it won’t kill you IF it’s consumed in MODERATION. (a lot of foods/beverage can be harmful in moderation) Of course it could cause harmful health effects if you drink too much, it’s sugar, caffeine, plus other stimulants. And yes, it can contribute to obesity and diabetes because of it’s high calorie and sugar content. However, this isn’t the problem. The problem is that people can’t balance their daily calorie intakes with how much they burn. Go exercise and stop complaining.

  5. You got it right Ilove_redBull. I’m not against RedBull in some cases, just as I mention that I’ll drink a Coke during a long endurance race.

  6. ilove_monster permalink

    I have never had monster before , i tried it once before , just like a sip of my friends and it tasted good , so i am going to get it , would it kill me ?

    • No, but it’s not healthy and the more you drink them in quantity and frequency the more health problems will follow.

  7. John permalink

    She is right about high fructose corn syrup. It is not any worse than natural sugar or any other sugar. Also sugar does not cause obesity. It is “linked” to obesity and may affect blood pressure in certain sensitive individuals. In no way does sugar make people fat. That is bull. Obesity is cause by consuming calories than one needs a day. Something like 3500 calories is equal to one pound of fat. If one limits calorie intake, they simply will not get obese. That is the cause. People eat too many calories. This article is a load of crap because it states untrue facts when the Dr. Storey is right on some matters. I am by far not an advocate of energy drinks at all. They are not good for you. This article however is the wrong way to go about bringing down energy drinks. People need to consume the right amount of calories for their body per day. How they do that can be however they choose, but it is preferred to eat a healthy diet obviously.

    • If you actually believe anything you just wrote then this site is clearly not for you. Go eat your HFCS. Go eat your sugar. Continue to think that a calorie is a calorie. And good luck; you know absolutely nothing about metabolism.

  8. Jayson permalink

    This stuff is poison. High fructose corn syrup is genetically modified corn, that is juiced with round-up, and many other pesticides, fertilizers that should never be in our diet. And yet, 90-95 percent of the stuff we eat contains it.

    Refined sugar contains Carbon from boiled animal bones. Oh joy.

    Goodluck in your ventures Drgangemi, I hope you get through to someone oneday.

  9. Scott kummer permalink

    Great points! I also appreciate the fact that this site is not dogmatic. I might drink a redbull at mile 40 of a 50 mile race. That’s not the same thing as someone drinking three redbulls Monday morning to be able to get themselves to their desk job. All this health and nutrition info needs to be taken in context and Sock Doc is one of the few people out there that educates while adding the context.

  10. Bill L. permalink

    HFCS IS a big problem, contrary to what Dr. Storey or John says. It messes up your liver, causing Fatty Liver Disease, unwanted fat deposition, higher weight gain than with sucrose, and messes with leptin and ghrelin levels, so you eat more and are hungrier more often, and promotes metabolic disease (pre-diabetes). The studies are out there, go look.

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