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Energy drinks are often advertised as providing a certain number of hours’ worth of energy. Some labels indicate that the caffeine-laden, carbonated beverages are beefed-up with vitamins and other additives, such as ginseng, to achieve certain results in the person consuming them. Purportedly they provide more energy and/or greater ability to focus than drinking water. They even give you "the kick you need…" to face your morning meeting without nodding off. Energy drinks, such as top-selling US beverage Monster Energy, AMP and Boost, are available in convenience stores, grocery stores and gas stations throughout the U.S. and generate multi-billions of dollars in sales for their drink companies—as in $8.9 billion alone in retail sales in the U.S. (according to Beverage Digest). Australia is even into this market with drinks, RedBull and Rockstar.

Where things get dicey is that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has no real definition for an energy drink. You can’t regulate what you can’t define… at least for the present. But if the State of New York has its way, things may change for energy drink manufacturers and their advertising. The FDA, which apparently was interested in what additives were in beverages in 2009, such as berry extracts, considered the term "energy drink" as an "ill-defined marketing term with widely varying ingredients".

State of New York officials want to know, however, if drink-makers are leading consumers down the garden path with inaccurate claims in advertising and labeling and so have begun requesting documents referencing the drink makers’ claims. Also of concern to New York is how much caffeine and other ingredients these energy-boosting drinks contain. As much caffeine as a popular latté? Monster says its drinks are completely safe with only 10 milligrams of caffeine per fluid ounce. That’s 16 fluid ounces in a can, times 10 milligrams, which would be about enough caffeine to keep most people awake for a night. They also contain vitamins, but which ones and how much of each? There are some vitamins which are not good for a person in large doses. Some also Taurine—an amino acid which was originally derived from ox bile… now that’s appetizing.

Perhaps it is time to learn exactly what the drinks have in them before consuming too many of them.

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