By: Kianna Collins
Photo By April Irvin
Energy drinks are becoming increasingly more popular as a quick hit of energy for students. Whether it be cramming for tests or just making it through the day, energy drinks are assimilating themselves into our society.
Some students on campus here use it purely for energy. “I live for that energy, that rush,” said Nick Slater, a junior criminal justice major from Montgomery.
Michael Brinson, a freshman music education major from Troy, stated that he used it “to get to my eight o’clock class.”
Some of the main reasons for drinking energy drinks were to wake up in the morning, all-nighters and to get extra energy before a game.
With the population having an increasing need for energy, one has to consider the negative side effects for this shot of energy.
There have been reports of heart palpitations, agitation, tremors, upset stomach, hallucinations and seizures.
Tyler Russell, a freshman business major from Montgomery, when asked, said that he didn’t care about the side effects, and that he needs the energy.
Another downside to drinking energy drinks is the amount of unknown ingredients in them. All of the ingredients are listed, but most people don’t know what they are, or what effects they have on caffeine. They may prolong the effects of the undesired effects of caffeine.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports there have also been 13,000 emergency room visits in 2009 that were associated with energy drinks alone. Five deaths have been associated with Monster energy drinks, and there are 13 deaths being investigated by the FDA currently that may be linked to 5-hour energy drinks.
There is one known positive side effect to drinking energy drinks that a study at the University of Siena in Italy found. It boosts heart function in healthy people, and they think it may be linked to the taurine in energy drinks, which is an amino acid that is found naturally in meats and eggs.
Energy drinks are geared towards the younger male group, with 31 percent of 12-17 year olds drinking and 34 percent of 18-24 year olds drinking.
But the argument stands: Which has more caffeine, energy drinks or coffee?
A standard cup of coffee, which is eight fluid ounces, contains about 125-150 milligrams of caffeine. In comparison, an 8.3 fluid ounce can of cocaine energy contains about 280 milligrams of caffeine.
Cocaine is a less well-known energy drink but it is much stronger than its competitors such as Rockstar and Monster. It was deemed illegal by the FDA, for a time, due to the belief its name encouraged substance abuse.
A human being should only ingest 200 to 300 milligrams a day, just to put that into perspective. If someone drinks one Cocaine energy drink, they just consumed their daily intake of caffeine. And most people don’t just stop at one, because the drinks are sweet and easy to ingest.
There are additives to coffee, such as sugar, milk and creamer that can add to the effects of coffee. The extra ingredients in energy drinks, however, have unknown effects but are intended to boost physical and mental alertness.
The difference between the drinks is not much, and one may not be better than the other, but it may be more of a matter of preference.
Some students on campus don’t partake in energy drinks. Scot Brumbeloe, a freshman criminal justice major from Gardendale, said, “They’re unhealthy. I have no need for them.” A few people that were asked replied with the same response.
Energy drinks have a big presence on college campuses, but do the health risks really seem worth it?