The nightly news is full of reports of people who have bad effects or die from drinking Monster energy drinks and other drinks promoted as a way to boost your energy. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is conducting investigations into several deaths that may be associated with Monster drinks. These energy drinks represent the fastest growing sector of the beverage market and, although not intended for minors, that group of pre-teens and teenagers represents the highest consumers of these popular drinks. Are monster energy drinks bad for you? Which ingredients bring the harmful effects?
Are Monster Energy Drinks Bad for You?
1. Too High in Caffeine
The first strike against these drinks is that they are extremely high in caffeine. Each 16-ounce can contains 160 mg of caffeine. This is as much caffeine as is in one cup of coffee and twice as much caffeine as is recommended for older children and teenagers. Even for adults, the Mayo Clinic recommends daily intake of less than 500 mg of caffeine in a day’s time. More than this recommended amount can result in insomnia, tremors, abdominal pain, anxiety and extreme irritability. For a child or teenager who also drinks soft drinks or tea, the addition of one can of Monster Energy drinks can quickly put them over the maximum recommended daily amount.
2. Other Chemical Ingredients
The amount of caffeine in a Monster drink aside, there are also a number of other ingredients in that same can.
- First, each can of Monster drink contains between 5 and 6 teaspoons of simple sugars. These sugars make your energy and blood sugar levels soar very quickly, but your sugar and energy will also crash just as quickly. For a diabetic or anyone sensitive to sugar, this can be devastating.
- There is some amount of vitamins B2, B3, B6 and B12. These vitamins may help supplement the amount you get in your diet.
- There is a huge amount of Taurine in each can of Monster Energy drink. This amino acid helps regulate salt and water in the blood. Little is known about possible side effects of too much of this good thing.
- Sodium in one can of the drink is two times the amount in 20 ounces of Coca Cola. For anyone on a sodium restricted diet, this amount of added sodium can be deadly.
- Guaranine is a plant-based product that has effects that are very similar to caffeine including anxiety, heart palpitations and insomnia.
- Other chemicals in a can of Monster Energy drink are carnitine, inositol, maltodetrin and glucuronolactone.
As can be concluded, some ingredients help you boost energy while many other chemical ingredients can do harm to your body.
3. Threat to Teens
The Journal of Pediatrics has published reports linking energy drinks in teenagers to higher risks of strokes, heart palpitations, seizures and sudden death – particularly in children and teens with other underlying health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and hyperactivity disorders. Teens may believe that the energy drinks are similar to sports drinks and may assume that, if a little bit is good, a lot is probably better. Other countries have documented very serious caffeine reactions from energy drinks. The scariest part about these studies is that the median age of those people affected is 17 years old.
4. Other Threats
The main selling point, that these drinks provide an energy boost, is true, but only to a point. The drinks can cause wild fluctuations in your blood sugar and your sleep habits. If you have other health problems (heart disease, diabetes, or any metabolic disorder), Monster Energy drinks can make those problems worse. There have also been reports of kidney stones linked to energy drinks.
5. Final Conclusion
Unless you are extremely sensitive to one or more of the ingredients in the Monster Energy drink, drinking a can on a very occasional basis may not harm you in the long run. The problems usually happen when the user drinks a can, gets a boost, and then crashes as the sugar and other ingredients leave the body. The natural inclination might be to drink another can to get the boost again. Unfortunately, this constant up and down roller coaster will eventually take a major toll on your body and brain. If you are one of those people who cannot say no to another can, then you should not START drinking Monster Energy drinks.
More Controversies and Warnings about Monster Energy Drinks
Monster Energy drinks have been implicated in the death of a 14-year-old who died in December 2011 due to a heart dysrhythmia caused by the caffeine in two cans of the drink. From 2004 to 2012, the FDA received reports about five deaths that have been linked with drinking Monster Energy drinks.
Monster Energy Drinks denies any link between their drink and these deaths.