Are the makers of energy drinks purposefully misleading consumers about their benefits and ingredients? That’s what New York’s attorney general is hoping to find out. According to the Wall Street Journal, AG Eric T. Schneiderman issued subpoenas to PepsiCo Inc., the maker of Monster energy drinks and more. The documents asked the corporate giant to submit information on their marketing practices. But given the beverages’ damage-causing capabilities, it isn’t surprising to see energy drinks in the negative spotlight once again.
More Negative Spotlight on Energy Drinks
These energy drinks can be found just about anywhere. They are marketed to teens and young adults as a societal trend, as well as the modern adult who is very active. Frequently, they will tout a few natural ingredients as being a source of pure, safe energy. But Schneidermann isn’t so sure the claims are completely accurate or fair.
The investigation is looking at the products and how they are marketed, saying that perhaps the benefits of “exotic-sounding ingredients” are being overstated, while caffeine (often the main ingredient) is being downplayed. All the while, drinking sports and energy drinks is actually comparable to ‘bathing your teeth with acid’ according to scientists who have unleashed their findings on how these beverages may be destroying the health of your teeth.
The products’ labels often don’t say how much caffeine is contained in the drink. The label on Monster’s 16-ounce can says it contains caffeine but doesn’t say how much; 5-hour Energy doesn’t say how much caffeine is contained in one bottle, but its website says it is about as much as a cup of coffee.
These drinks aren’t regulated like typical soft drinks. According to the FDA, the term “energy drink” isn’t defined by regulation which means it could be slapped on nearly anything. In 2009, the agency expressed “concern” over the ingredients being used in such drinks, stating the plant extracts were being used beyond their traditional roles. You can almost compare the term to the phrase “all natural”, for which there is no official definition, allowing companies to throw the label on their products for various reasons. These reasons are often misleading.
Investigators are looking into whether the addition of ingredients like guarana—another source of caffeine—violates laws that ban putting multiple sources of caffeine in one beverage without disclosing the overall amount, according to the person familiar with the investigation.
If energy drink makers are found to have violated New York law in regards to food products, they could be forced to pay fines and to change their labels and marketing approaches. Such findings could eventually lead to tighter federal regulation by the FDA.
And of course there are alternatives to these sports drinks. Living an overall healthy lifestyle and detoxing your body from toxins will help increase your energy levels. But more specifically, you can try these natural energy boosters while also increasing consumption of vitamin B12, a vitamin largely responsible for increased energy levels or lack thereof.