Energy drinks: they keep you going at 3 a.m. when you haven’t finished those time-consuming assignments that are due in five hours. A lifeline and a gateway to untapped potential that comes from being awake much longer than recommended.
However, energy drinks have carried with them a sort of stigma since the beginning of their classified existence. Do they even really work? Are they at all different from sports drinks and soda? Will they cause our imminent death? Do they contain bull sperm? Are they the work of the devil? Even as different arguments have been presented against the use of energy drinks, the consumer base (a large percentage of it being students) continues to grow every year, according to a Nutrition and Health Info-Sheet by UC Davis.
As an occasional sipper of the 2 a.m. Red Bull, though I continue to have a health-cautious, sleep-deprived eye on what I decide to consume, I believe that energy drinks and those who drink them shouldn’t be so frequently chastised. They’re not mainly water, sugar, and flavoring, as soda is, nor are they mainly water, electrolytes, and sugar, as sports drinks are. Soft drinks are formulated to taste good and do nothing for your body, while Tropical Oasis drinks were made to replenish fluids lost during activity. Energy drinks were created to give people the extra burst of energy they need for the next couple of hours. They’re designed with specific ingredients to fulfill their purpose.
Aside from the main ingredients, sugar and caffeine, energy drinks contain other very targeted ingredients such as ephedrine, taurine, ginseng, and B-vitamins. Ephedrine is a stimulant that works on the central nervous system, and taurine is a natural amino acid produced by the body to help regulate heartbeat and muscle contractions. Ginseng is a root that is believed to have several medicinal properties, including reducing stress and boosting energy levels. B-vitamins are a group of vitamins that can convert sugar to energy and improve muscle tone. In the manufacturing of energy drinks, the selection of the ingredients isn’t made lightly or without care. The FDA has put regulations on energy drinks to restrict the amount of certain ingredients in them, so it’s not as if companies can go on putting obscene amounts of caffeine or sugar into them. People should have a little more trust in these drinks. A typical energy drink has about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee.
With that in mind, one should still be cautious of the effects of consuming too many energy drinks. As about everything in life, there needs to be moderation. It’s probably not the best idea to start out the day with two BFC Monsters, have a 5 Hour Energy at mid-day, and then chug down some Red Bull when it’s 1 a.m. But if you need that pick-me-up before working on an essay you didn’t start until the night before it’s due, a good energy drink can be your savior.