Solution Proposal Rachel Modrow

I found this part of my paper to be particularly interesting: The part that I found about coffee was interesting. I knew that there were studies about how coffee is good and stuff but all the info I found was interesting and made it better.
This part was surprisingly difficult: Um, finding stuff about the FDA was actually difficult. I found some things and tried to incorporate those into my paper.
Next time I would do this differently: I think I did everything I needed to do for this paper in a good way and a timely manner. I didn't feel rushed or anything that much.

In today’s society energy drinks are popular and everyone seems to be drinking them. There are many different chemicals in energy drinks and they’re not good for anyone. There are many solutions for trying to get people aware of how these drinks are bad. One of the main solutions would be putting warning labels on the bottles before people can purchase them, like labels on alcohol and tobacco products. People need to be aware of what they are drinking and this is the main way to get people to understand that they are bad.

The term “energy drink” can have multiple meanings, as stated by the Caffeine Informers article, Energy Drinks Defined, “Energy drinks are any beverage that contains multiple ingredients which service one or more facets of preserved neurological and/or psychophysiological efficiency. This could be in a form of an aluminum can, bottle or shot” (Energy Drinks Defined). A better understanding of what an energy drink is can come from the same Caffeine Informers article, “An energy drink is a beverage that has more than one ingredient known to increase energy. Energy drinks need to have two ingredients that go together, such as, caffeine and taurine, caffeine and ginseng or caffeine and b-vitamins. If there is just caffeine, just b-vitamins or anything that is one ingredient it is not considered an energy drink” (Energy Drinks Defined). Looking around grocery stores there are many different kinds of energy drinks displayed. “The most common energy drinks that are seen in stores are Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar, Amp, NOS and Full Throttle” (The Top 15 Energy Drink Brands).

Energy drinks are a problem because they contain many bad and unwanted ingredients. The amount of caffeine present in these drinks is not healthy for the average person. When looking at the labels of energy drinks it does not list the amount of caffeine that is in the drink. A consumer group tested twenty seven popular energy drinks and the results they found were surprising. People were consuming over more caffeine then they should have. “An average person should not consume more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day” (DeNoon). Some people in this study were consuming around 200 milligrams per drink. After having two energy drinks a day they were over the limit for the amount of caffeine they should consume. “After having around 200-300 milligrams of caffeine the body may start having some side effects” (Energy Drink Side Effects). “Having too much caffeine in a person’s body can cause different effects. Some of these are restlessness, nervousness, insomnia and tremors. Having excessive amounts of caffeine can also cause seizures and abnormal heart beats.” (DeNoon). Caffeine can be very bad for the body and it’s the main reason why people feel like they have more energy.

Some of the other ingredients that are found in some energy drinks are sodium benzoate, phenylalanine, guarana and ephedra. These all cause health problems that many people don’t think about. “Sodium benzoate can cause cell damage and increase the production of free radicals. Phenylalanine can excite too many neurons in the brain and can cause cellular death. When guarana is added to drinks it adds three to four times the caffeine. Ephedra increases heart rate and blood pressure and can cause strokes, seizures and even death in some cases” (Isaacs). All of these ingredients and many more are bad for health and can be very harmful to the people consuming the drinks. Most of these ingredients and more that are not mentioned are found in all different types of energy drinks. All the ingredients added to energy drinks are bad for you and are put there to try to increases heart rate so the consumer feels an energy boost.

Consuming energy drinks does many different things to the body. According to Koelliker, some of the things that they cause are sleep disturbances, anxiety, restlessness, elevation in blood pressure and heart rate, abnormal heart rhythms, seizures and even death. They are made to keep people alert and awake but they can do even more than most people realize. All drinks contain different levels of caffeine and can cause different effects. In Koelliker’s article, she also discusses hospital visits. In 2005, there were around 1,100 ER visits in the US because of energy drinks and that number rose substantially in 2008 with more than 16,000 visits and it continues to rise. Having too much caffeine can wear out the body and cause bad effects that can be dangerous. Most of the people that are consuming these drinks are not thinking about the different effects it can have on their body, they are consuming them to be able to stay awake for a little longer or to be able to finish their day. Energy drinks are bad for people and they should not be consumed. Before opening a bottle people should be informed of what they are drinking and what can be done to them.

A solution to help people understand that what they are drinking is bad and can have harmful effects is to increase public awareness. By increasing public awareness more people will understand that energy drinks are bad to consume and then less people should be consuming them. “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate energy drinks because they are categorized as dietary supplements” (Senelick). Although they don’t regulate energy drinks they should. This would be one of the main ways that would help people understand that they are bad. If the FDA were to regulate these drinks people would become more aware of how bad they are and stop drinking them. The reason that people keep drinking energy drinks when they know these drinks are bad is because they like the energy boost they get. Having that extra energy through the day is what people like. In order for consumers to understand how bad these drinks are there needs to be an increase in public awareness.

One way to increase public awareness is to get warning labels on the outside of energy drink cans or shots. If there was a warning label on the side of a drink it would make the consumer think again about whether or not they really want that drink. Companies would not like these labels on the side of cans but it would help the consumers become more aware of what they are putting into their bodies. By putting a label the side of the bottle it should say something such as, “WARNING: drink includes high amounts of caffeine that can have potential health risks for consumers” this will make the consumers have a second thought when buying a drink and they will know the correct amount of caffeine that is in the drink. “Over the counter stimulant drug products containing over 100 milligrams of caffeine must include warnings, whereas a 500 milligram energy drink can be marketed with no such warnings and no information on caffeine dose amount in the product” (Reissig). If products with only 100 milligrams must have warning labels then energy drinks should as well. Energy drinks with high amounts of caffeine can be very dangerous for people to consume.

By adding these warning labels it makes the public more aware about what they are consuming and how bad it is for them. On the back of some energy drinks there are little warnings such as, don’t consume when pregnant or don’t mix with alcohol but many people miss these labels. By adding a big warning label on the front of the can it should catch everyone’s eye and make them read it before buying. Having big bold letters and colors will help do this. In order for people to understand what they are drinking and what is in it the content needs to be advertised. Not many consumers will go online or call the company to see what the caffeine and nutrition facts are but if they are put on the cans then they will be able to see what they are drinking.

Adding warning labels is something easy to do, they would just get printed on the front of the cans. The FDA needs to make the decision to have warning labels mandatory on the cans but that will probably not happen anytime soon. In 2012 an article was published by UPI, that stated, “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it will consider whether new labeling requirements and health warnings on caffeinated energy drinks are warranted” (FDA to Consider Energy Drink Labels). Since it has been almost two years since this statement was released and nothing yet has changed it probably won’t change very fast in the future or at all. The public needs to become more aware of what these drinks are doing and the FDA is one of the main ways that will help people understand that these drinks are bad.

Companies don’t want labels on their drinks because they will slow down sales and maybe even make a stop to them. Right now the only warning label on a can doesn’t even contain the word “warning” in the label. A can of monster says “consume responsibility” on it. If they were to change the word to “warning” more people would recognize it and less people would buy it. “Red Bull and Monster Beverages dominate this market, commanding more than 80 percent of the sales in the country” (Aristotle Munarriz). With energy drinks making this kind of impact to the companies they are not going to put warning labels on cans unless they have to. By putting warning labels on the cans their sales will start decreasing because less people will want to consume the drinks.

Instead of drinking energy drinks there are other drinks people can consume to get energy and feel more awake. Coffee is a good drink to get energy and it can even have some health benefits. Although coffee isn’t the best thing to drink it is way better than energy drinks that have a lot of added sugars and caffeine. The caffeine that coffee provides stays in the body all day versus the caffeine from energy drinks stays for a few hours and then wears off. Caffeine stays in the body for a lot longer than energy drinks, “Drinking a big cup of coffee containing 200 milligrams of caffeine at 3pm will leave about 100 milligrams in your system at 9pm” (Brain). This means that in the morning when waking up someone could drink a cup of coffee and in the middle of the day still have the energy to perform later in the day.

There has been many studies done researching how coffee is good to have every day. “Americans get more antioxidants from coffee than anything else” (Jacques). Many people think that fruits and vegetables are how they can get the most antioxidants but coffee provides a lot of them. When having energy drinks there is no nutritional value or else the value is very low. Drinking coffee has less calories than an energy drink. “A plain cup of brewed coffee has only 2 calories and no fat” (Zeratsky). Whereas an energy drink such as Monster has a lot more calories and added sugars. “A can of Monster Energy Drink is typically 16 ounces and contains 220 calories” (Oliver). When thinking about buying energy drinks just switch to coffee because it is better and will stay in the body’s system for longer.

Switching to coffee instead of energy drinks is easy to do but many people won’t end up doing it. Energy drinks are carbonated and have some extra flavor that many people enjoy. Coffee has a unique taste and many people add creamers to make it better. When getting an energy drink they are in a can that’s easy to just open and drinks and not worry about anything else. It would be better to consume coffee than energy drinks because coffee can give you the same energy for longer and it can have some health benefits.

There are also studies that have been done showing that coffee is bad to consume. There comes a point where coffee is bad to have. After consuming cup after cup of coffee it eventually gets bad to drink. Drinking coffee every single day it starts to wear out the body and then it is not good to have anymore. By adding creamers and different things to mix to make it taste good calories are added and then it could total the same amount as an energy drink. “Energy drinks are sweet and often fruit flavored, which appeals more to children and teens than bitter tasting coffee” (The Coffee and Energy Drink Double Standard).

Another solution that can help increase public awareness is if the FDA would regulate energy drinks. The FDA regulates most every other food and drink except energy drinks. “Typically, energy drinks have been marketed as either dietary supplements or conventional beverages, depending on the products ingredient, intended use, and labeling” (David). Since some energy drinks are considered dietary supplements the FDA won’t regulate them. For the public to become aware of energy drinks and the harm they have to consumers the FDA needs to regulate them.
The FDA regulates many things such as food, cosmetics, drugs and many other things. Since the FDA is regulating these items it makes the public more aware that these certain items could be bad and they need to be watched. Since the FDA doesn’t regulate energy drinks no one things anything about them. The FDA does regulate some dietary supplements such as vitamins and minerals but not any drinks. A dietary supplement can be defined as, “a product intended for ingestions intended to add further nutritional value” (About FDA). Most energy drinks don’t fall into this category because they are in a form of a liquid and most dietary supplements are pills. If the FDA would add energy drinks to the list of dietary supplements then people would become more aware.

Some people think that banning energy drinks for minors would be a solution. Although this is a good idea it would not work. By banning energy drinks for people under the age of eighteen it will just make the kids want them even more. Knowing that they would be illegal teens wouldn’t care what the side effects are they would want them, kind of how teens drink alcohol and smoke. They know it’s bad to do but knowing its illegal makes it fun. Companies should be targeting these young kids and keeping them informed on what is in the drinks and how they are bad and can cause harm.

Energy drinks can become very addictive and once people start drinking them they won’t be able to stop. Switching to healthier drinks will be the safer option though. Even if someone is addicted to energy drinks if they can try to switch to non-energy drinks it will help improve their health and life for the short term and most importantly for the long run. Energy drinks are so bad to consume and trying to drink something healthier will really help people feel more energized and happier during the day.

If people started drinking healthier drinks then they would buy and drink less energy drinks. There are many healthy options that people can buy or even make at home that will give them some energy and taste good. Smoothies are a good example. They’re very healthy, taste good and can give energy. Adding strawberries and fruits to smoothies make them high in antioxidants and can help the body get energy. Another good think would be to drink protein shakes. Protein is needed in every diet and it can help add energy. Another thing people can drink is water. It’s easy to get, free and good for everything. Water is a necessity in life so why not drink it in replacement of an energy drink.

Energy drinks can be addictive and have many people going back for more after they drink one. They give you an energy boost for a short period of time but some of the long and short term effects are bad for the body. The public needs to become aware of how bad these drinks are and in order to do that warning labels should be put on the outside of cans. That way everyone buying these drinks will know that they are not good to consume. There are many different options that can be chosen instead of having an energy drink every day. The next time someone buys an energy drink I hope they will think twice and realize how bad they really are.

Works Cited

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Jacques, Renee. "11 Reasons Why You Should Drink Coffee Every Day." The Huffington Post., 17 Oct. 2013. Web. 08 Apr. 2014.

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