Energy drinks – should students drink them?


Grayson Joslin

Imagine sleeping in late on a Monday. You need to be at school at 8 but you feel like you will be walking like a zombie into your first hour. What can wake you up? For most teenagers right now, energy drinks are the way to go to start out the day. However, energy drinks pose a number of health problems of people of all ages. So, should students consume energy drinks?

Energy drinks were first invented in the 1950’s, but first became popular in the American market in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s as drinks such as Red Bull, Monster and 5-Hour Energy saw sales rise in that time period. Energy drinks have not been mandated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). One of the reasons why energy drinks can be so dangerous are the amounts of caffeine (which is also found in soda and coffee) in these drinks. An average bottle of Red Bull can contain 80 milligrams while a new energy drink called Bang contains a mind boggling 350 milligrams in its 16 ounce can. For most people, the healthy amount of caffeine to digest in a day is 400 milligrams, but going over that can easily increase your chances of health problems. Energy drinks also contain a high level of sugar.

It is surprising to see how many people drink energy drinks, especially teenagers. A study has shown that one third of people aged 12 to 17 have consumed energy drinks. The real problem is that most people don’t know what is inside energy drinks – and what is inside them can kill them. Along with high amounts of sugar and caffeine, energy drinks can also include: Brazilian cocoa, ginseng (which is a Chinese herb which is popular in alternative medicine), and natural occurring amino acids. However, if you drink too much of an energy drink, it can cause havoc on your body and it can cause death. The side effects are scary – an irregular heart beat, seizures, very high blood pressures. Over 5,000 children and teenagers were sent to hospitals between 2010 and 2013, with a majority of them not knowing what was inside the drink. While it is thankfully uncommon, deaths still occur from drinking energy drinks.

One 16 year old’s death has led to action in Indiana. After David Cripe’s death in South Carolina in 2017 due to consumption of energy drinks, Indiana lawmakers this year proposed a bill that would forbid minors from buying energy drinks. If the law passes, the age to buy energy drinks will be eighteen. According to the proposed bill, Senate Bill 392, it will become a misdemeanor to give someone below the buying age energy drinks. The penalty would be sixty days in jail and a fine of up to $500 dollars.

We asked fellow Trojan students about their opinion about energy drinks. “I do drink energy drinks sometimes, because I need the energy.” 10th grader Collin King said, “However I am aware of the dangers of energy drinks.”

“I do drink energy drinks because they taste good and they wake me up in the mornings and don’t make me dread the rest of the day as much,” 9th grader Mackenzie Lewis said.

Ever since the start of the century, energy drinks have rose in popularity. However, this has come to a price with many teenagers being hospitalized and even passing away young due to consuming these potentially dangerous drinks. The next time you find yourself wanting a Bang or a Monster, talk yourself out of it – maybe have a coffee instead.