Friday, January 4, 2013


Lot has been said and written about the new trend among youngsters to consume the so called energy drinks recklessly believing the spurious claims made by the manufacturers which are not supported by any shred of scientific evidence. After all any drink which contains glucose or sucrose (common sugar) will yield energy when consumed almost instantly and it is not for nothing that pure glucose, both plan and flavored are sold world over for those seeking instant energy. Same is true with hospitals also where glucose drip is the most acceptable way of infusing energy into weak and convalescing patients. The so called "energy drinks" also have sugar as the energy source but contains caffeine and some minor ingredients with no relation to boosting energy. What is truly shocking is the total indifference of the U S safety authorities to the fraudulent practice of making and selling such products knowing pretty well that the claims are spurious while high caffeine content can be lethal to some consumers! It is interesting to read about the on-going investigations, supposed to be carried out by the USFDA.   

"The drinks are now under scrutiny by the Food and Drug Administration after reports of deaths and serious injuries that may be linked to their high caffeine levels. But however that review ends, one thing is clear, interviews with researchers and a review of scientific studies show: the energy drink industry is based on a brew of ingredients that, apart from caffeine, have little, if any benefit for consumers. "If you had a cup of coffee you are going to affect metabolism in the same way," said Dr. Robert W. Pettitt, an associate professor at Minnesota State University in Mankato, who has studied the drinks. Energy drink companies have promoted their products not as caffeine-fueled concoctions but as specially engineered blends that provide something more. For example, producers claim that "Red Bull gives you wings," that Rockstar Energy is "scientifically formulated" and Monster Energy is a "killer energy brew." Representative Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, a Democrat, has asked the government to investigate the industry's marketing claims. Promoting a message beyond caffeine has enabled the beverage makers to charge premium prices. A 16-ounce energy drink that sells for $2.99 a can contains about the same amount of caffeine as a tablet of NoDoz that costs 30 cents. Even Starbucks coffee is cheap by comparison; a 12-ounce cup that costs $1.85 has even more caffeine".

It is some what difficult to refrain from calling the activities of the energy drink manufacturers as "fraud" because the premium price charged for these products is scandalous! Why the consumers are paying such huge prices for products which are no better than the established soft drinks is a big mystery! Those making and peddling these products are bringing a bad name to food technology since they are calling the product "scientifically" formulated and a specially "engineered' blend though there is neither science nor engineering involved in making such murky "concoctions"! It is a pity that government of India is permitting these products to be imported into the country without realizing their consequences on the health of young generation of school going kids and other vulnerable consumers. They must be banned forthwith. Keeping the health of the citizen is much more scared than pleasing a few American manufacturers marketing such dangerous products!  


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