Much has been written in the last few days about the FDA’s investigation of 5 Hour Energy‘s responsibility for 13 deaths in the last few years. Supposedly, something in the drinks caused serious side effects that led to hospitalizations and even people dying.
But whether it’s the caffeine, phenylalanine, use in conjunction with alcohol or drugs is not really important. Fact is, lettuce (thanks to salmonella) kills more people every year than all energy drinks combined.
The real problem with energy drinks is that they are a marketing lie. Like many other processed products that are supposed to make us healthier, more alert, and sexier too, there is simply not enough evidence to support their claimed benefits.These products are targeted at young people who don’t always exercise proper judgement. And at older people who are looking for a panacea that does not exist.
Red Bull, 5 Hour, 4 Loco, and others are selling a fake dream. They are supported by huge marketing budgets because their products command a huge profit margin. After all they’re mostly water, sugar, and a mix of cheap vitamins and caffeine.
Instead of getting kids to eat more vegetables and fruits, which actually can improve health, our warped food culture convinces them to consume more crap. Imagine what a $100 million TV ad campaign could do for broccoli…