How Does It Feel To Drink 14 Cans Of Soda?

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Monster Healthy

Snack Girl recently got a question about Monster Rehab and she got excited. Rehab? Maybe Monster has become healthier.

Alas, Monster's "Rehab" is not about healthier. Here is a quote from the can:

We need a new drink. One that can do it all: a triple threat that quenches thirst, hydrates like a sports drink, and brings you back after a hard day's night.

We do NEED a new drink - one that discloses the amount of caffeine in every can of this stuff. A 13 year old with a common heart defect recently died after drinking two Monster Energy drinks which is the caffeine equivalent of 14 cans of soda. See her story here: Today Health.

After my first post on Monster, I wrote to both of my U.S. senators asking for help. Since the U.S. government regulates the amount of caffeine in soda, could we get some legislation enacted to regulate the amount in energy drinks? To my surprise, I received a phone call from junior senator's Scott Brown's office telling me that I needed to contact the FDA.

First of all, it was nice to get a call. John Kerry's office didn't even e-mail me back! But, the FDA just told me that they don't regulate caffeine in dietary supplements. Ahem. So, whose job is it to ensure that we have information and regulation about what is in these drinks? How many teenagers with heart defects have to die of a caffeine overdose before a serious warning goes on the side of this can?

Monster Rehab is actually a bit better than regular Monster because it is sugar free. But, it tastes like the drink that Iron Man has to suck on to get power for his radioactive chip. Monster Rehab tastes AWFUL.

Two years ago before I wrote about Monster (see: Monster), I actually drank a 12oz Monster and then a 20oz Mountain Dew because I heard that teenagers were mixing these drinks to get a high - multiple times a day. I can tell you from personal experience that my heart started racing and I felt ill.

Since I am 42, I do drink coffee every morning to wake up. But the high temperature of that coffee slows down my intake, and after two cups, I know to stop. Teenagers guzzling cold energy drinks don't slow down their consumption.

My advice is to talk to your teens about these energy drinks just like you talk to them about alcohol and sex. They need information about what this stuff can do to their systems. Here are some good talking points:

  • You can destroy your teeth. A pediatric hygienist told me that she had a kid with over 15 areas of decay on his teeth from drinking these drinks. The parents had a $6000 dentist bill given to them (they lacked dental insurance).
  • You can get Type II diabetes. You are pouring sugar into your system and your body will not be able to keep up. Any time you drink a large amount of sugar you are putting yourself at risk for Type II diabetes and a shortening of your life.
  • You can gain weight. Where is all that sugar going to go? To your waist. If you want to fit in that prom dress or tuxedo, drink WATER!

What do you think of "energy" drinks marketed to kids?"


Other posts you might like:

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First 20 Comments: [ see all 32 ]

Just found this useful site: http://www.energyfiend.com/the-caffeine-database

You can even sort by caffeine content.

Looks like the poor kid must have been drinking Monster Hitman Sniper at 240mg of caffeine per can. So sad.

I used to drink low carb Monster once or twice a day. One night, during a movie marathon, I drank two in a row. Yeah, I was up pretty much all night.

on May 10, 2012

"Monster Rehab is actually a bit better than regular Monster because it is sugar free." Seriously? a) it does have glucose, which is sugar, and b) splenda and ace-K are NOT an improvement - http://healthimpactnews.com/2012/why-aspartame-is-far-worse-than-high-fructose-corn-syrup/ (sucralose is near the bottom) (wish I could find yesterday's dr. weil video where he goes into ace-k as well, but I can't right now. meh.). The caffiene is probably far worse in that big a dose, but....

on May 10, 2012

Great post! I never drank energy drinks, however I just discovered Starbucks Raspberry Pomegranate energy drink. 60 calories for one can and is made with green coffee. The ingredients are things I know too!

on May 10, 2012

I feel for you on these things. Back when I was younger I would guzzle a few energy drinks when I needed to spend an entire night writing a paper. I finally stopped the night my heart started racing so fast I thought I was going to die. I switched back to coffee, stopped pulling all nighters (...mostly...), and never touched the stuff again. To be honest, it doesn't even taste very good, but I think a teenager will drink anything fizzy, sour, and kind of sweet. Plus, the advertising on that stuff is amazing.

on May 10, 2012

Advertising for crap like this really does make most teens/young adults feel the "need" to eat or drink these kind of things. I was victim to them as well.....ignorance is NOT bliss! Great post and blog, thanks!

on May 10, 2012

Yuck! So glad I don't drink these things...

on May 10, 2012

Great post! Very informative and good for you for making calls. This is an important issue. And you're right, because they are cold drinks, its very easy to over consume. I hope they do start putting a warning on these cans. 1 death is too much.

on May 10, 2012

Though I never drank Monster or Red Bull, I remember drinking lots of energy drinks and Mountain Dew in high school and my freshman year of college...until my irregular heartbeat got so bad that IT was keeping me awake at night. I learned soon after that there is no substitute for energy like 1) getting enough sleep 2) exercising 3) drinking plenty of water and 4) eating well. And that's how I lost 40lbs my sophomore year ;)

on May 10, 2012

Great post, on an important subject!

A recent Pediatrics Journal article reviewed the literature and looked at 121 scientific studies, government reports and media sources on energy drinks. The authors warn that energy drinks are under studied, overused and can be dangerous for vulnerable kids and teens.

As you stated, energy drinks escape FDA regulation by belonging to the Wild West category of dietary supplements. Dietary supplements require no testing, warning labels or restrictions. This leads to the absurd reality in which soda, with a moderate caffeine content, has to list caffeine content, over-the-counter caffeine medications such as No-Doz must carry warnings, adverse effects label and have a minimum age for purchase (12 years), yet energy drinks with as much as 400 mg of caffeine per container aren’t regulated at all.

The whole notion that energy comes from a can is false and silly. I agree with you about the need to talk energy drinks with our kids.

on May 10, 2012

I've tried a few energy drinks and they all taste downright nasty... and all I got out of it was a caffeine high and a sugar rush! If I want that I can have coffee and a couple cookies (which is healthier than the energy drink anyway).

They're also so dangerous since they don't list the caffeine content. As little as 2 grams at a time can put you in the hospital... 10 grams has the potential to KILL you. And these kids will drink energy drinks and take caffeine pills with them... chew caffeinated gum... eat caffeinated candy and snacks...

on May 10, 2012

Never tried them, and never gonna try them, great job on getting the word out about how bad they are for everyone, its sad that people have to get hurt, and even die, before companies try to change anything, and in this case the companies still don't change a thing.

on May 10, 2012

Advocare has some great Energy drink alternatives. Full of great vitamins and minerals. The best selling is Spark has 120 of caffeine (https://www.advocare.com/02078717/Store/ItemDetail.aspx?itemCode=A2096&id=E&flavor=L&size=C) however, there are some other energy drinks without any caffeine at all like V-16(https://www.advocare.com/02078717/Store/ItemDetail.aspx?itemCode=A4372&id=E).

on May 10, 2012

Does anyone remember Jolt cola? That's what we drank as kids for lots of caffeine.

on May 10, 2012

Hi Snack Girl!

Great post, we whole heartedly support this message as well and are working to make this a healthier, better world. Have you ever tried Steaz? Check us out! All natural, organic and fair trade green tea based iced tea, sparkling (good soda alternative) AND an energy drink!

Let us know if we can work together on something, great post!

- Steaz

on May 10, 2012

I don't drink coffee or black tea, so I know I would not be able to handle the amount of caffeine in this drink. Terrible about that girl.

Why don't they regulate the amount of caffeine in drinks but not diet supplements?

on May 10, 2012

Uggh, I really need to read before submitting. I meant to say: why do they regulate the amount of caffeine in drinks but not diet supplements?

on May 10, 2012

Thank you so much for your relevant and timely post! Those drinks are scary! Just the other day I saw what looked like a pre-teen drinking a huge can of Monster. So scary!

on May 10, 2012

Ugh I have to admit when I was in college a few times when I had to pull allnighters for project id drink this stuff. For college dorms a cold drink in a can is a lot easier than to go out at 3am to try to find a coffee shop that's still open. But the two times I drank this on empty stomach at 3 or 4 in the morning my heart started to race so hard I thought I was gonna die. Felt completely nauseas. Thankfully my natural self preservation instinct killed any desire to continue consuming that poison. I have never in my life wanted to drink that again. I find it ridiculous that the fda doesnt think its harmful enough to at least warrant a requirement to list caffeine content ugh

on May 10, 2012

I also tried one of these energy drinks when I was pulling an all-nighter to finish my thesis. I sipped the can over the course of the night, didn't even finish it and my heart was racing and I was super jittery all through the morning. I felt terrible but it got the job done. That was my first and last encounter with energy drinks.

on May 11, 2012

I'm about to graduate college, but I can tell you that these sorts of energy drinks were ubiquitous on campus for the last 4 years. I don't know how people can stomach them. I'm a coffee drinker, as a few people have mentioned, but the kind of jolt you get from an energy drink is WORLD's away from the "gentle" awakening from a cup of Joe. Kudos to you for trying to get to the bottom of the caffeine regulation mess.

on May 11, 2012

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