Recent efforts by Senators Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) to request more regulatory control over so-called energy drinks have not yet produced their desired effect. The caffeine-loaded beverages marketed as dietary supplements receive less FDA scrutiny than regular beverages; and the senators are worried about the effects of these drinks on children’s health, according to a recent Bloomerberg News article.
While the FDA regulates the amount of caffeine in softdrinks, it has less authority over energy drinks which are not marketed as “beverages.” It has come to light in the past month that New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been investigating Monster and PepsiCo Inc., and Living Essentials LLC which make the “5-hour energy drinks”. Senators Durbin and Blumenthal are continuing to garner support for FDA to broaden its authority to consider energy drinks as beverages.
The public may remember that 14-year old Anais Fournier, who also had mitral valve prolapse, died December 23, 2011, after consuming two energy drinks in succession. The cause of death was believed to be caffeine toxicity. The amount of caffeine in the two energy drinks she had consumed was approximately equal to consuming 14 cans of Coca-Cola.
While these drinks may be effective in providing an energy boost, I am reminded of the old adage "everything in moderation". Too much of anything is likely to be bad for you, and this simple rule may apply to these so-called "energy drinks". Moreover, the remaining contents of the drinks – in addition to the caffeine – remains questionable. I will stick to a cup or two of coffee when in need of an energy jolt.