Monday, October 30, 2006

Energy Drinks: Rocket Fuel for the Heart

Red Bull. Monster. Rockstar. All rocket fuel for the heart. But the kids are drinking it up like never before. Wonder why your child notes their heart skip or race? Ask about how many of these drinks they have a day. You'll be amazed.

It turns out that my son likes this stuff. I tried one this weekend for the first time. I did the "sugar free" variety." It was bad, but then, I know this stuff wasn't marketed to folks who can consume other "stimulating" beverages. No, this is for kids.

What I've been impressed with is how Red Bull took over my son's high school: a young man came up to their Red Bull car and was recruited. How? Free Red Bull for all the years he's in high school provided he gave it away to all of his friends. He's one of the most popular kids in his school. Gorilla marketing at its most powerful.

But this stuff can make you sick. Too much of this stuff can definitely cause symptoms: skipped heart beats, racing heart, anxiety, nervousness, hyperventillation with its associated numbness in the hands and feet, and in kids with underlying heart disorders, it can certainly exacerbate preexisting heart rhythms. Our pressured kids are drinking this stuff to stay awake long enough to do their homework after gaming too late at night or staying up on their cell phones talking to their girlfriends or boyfriends ("Who needs sleep?" I've heard kids say.)
But the biggest worry is how some teens use the drinks. Some report downing several cans in a row to get a buzz, and a new study found a surprising number of poison-center calls from young people getting sick from too much caffeine.

Danger only adds to the appeal, said Bryan Greenberg, a marketing consultant and an assistant professor of marketing at Elizabethtown College.
Starting to sound a bit like the cigarette industry, doesn't it?

And don't get me started on how ridiculously expensive these drinks are...

I guess you have to pay for all those freebies somehow.



Anonymous said...

Not really a comment, but a question. Have there been any studies on the effects on individuals with Long QT Syndrome or other cardiac arrhymias?

Anonymous said...

I accidentally got my hands on one of those power drinks a few years back ...

I thought I was buying a Moxie in a new can ... but it was the new Moxie Energy Drink.

This stuff was the same color as some antifreeze I've seen, and glowed in the same way. I don't drink anything sweet, so my first glug was a real shocker. I was sure I'd been poisoned! My son assured me otherwise, and drank the rest for me. ;o)

I have a feeling that you're going to see more problems come up with this as time goes by. Yet another thing we need to worry about with our kids ...