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Energy DrinksAccording to a Forbes article published last year: “A 14-year-old Maryland girl, Anais Fournier, died of a heart attack from caffeine toxicity after drinking just two cans of Monster energy drinks, and her parents are suing the company. As a result, the FDA is investigating that death and four others the agency believes may be linked to Monster drinks.”

You may be wondering how much caffeine is in these energy drinks: “A 24-ounce can of Monster Energy Drink supposedly has 240 mg of caffeine, approximately equivalent to seven cups of coffee. But health experts have voiced concerns about energy drinks over the past few years, saying the caffeine content can be as high as 550 mg.”  The FDA doesn’t allow soda to have more than 0.02% caffeine, but energy drinks aren’t subject to this limit because they technically aren’t considered food items.  Rather, they are marked as “supplements.”

That means an average teen (apparently teenagers are the highest consumers of energy drinks, therefore at the highest risk for “Monster Deaths”) who drinks two Monster drinks on average, every day, let’s say one for lunch and one again after school, consumes the equivalent of 14 cups of coffee in a 6 hour period.  And people are shocked that this kills someone?

Ummm

Duh…I’ve bashed energy drinks for years, certain that nothing with that much caffeine can be good for your body.  But apparently it takes someone dying (or a scientist offering conclusive evidence) before people will listen to me!

This reminds me of a study I did in college involving the effects of caffeine on water mites.  We slowly added drops of caffeine onto our designated water mite and watched its reaction under a microscope by monitoring its heart beat.  At small dosages, the heart rate increased, as was expected since caffeine is a stimulant.  At large dosages, however, the heart rate increased to a frenzy and then simply stopped.  I figured this out accidentally, by the way; I overdosed the poor creature.

Water MiteI recognize that humans are very evolved creatures but apparently we’re not so evolved that we can’t overdose on caffeine, just like our poor water mite friend.  So wise, up, people, and take care of your body.  Use your head, do your research and before consuming large amounts of anything (whether it’s healthy veggies or supplement items), make sure you know how it’s affecting your body.

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