Energy Drinks Under Scrutiny

Caffeine-packed energy drinks under scrutiny, as a death toll is alleged. The FDA is investigating. So will we.

Monster Energy Drinks. (

Monster Energy Drinks. (

Caffeine-packed “energy drinks” are all over these days.  A marketing phenom.  A buzz phenom.  A lifestyle.  Red Bull.  Monster.  Rock Star. Five-Hour Energy.  Hawked on college campuses and in check-out lines.

A can or little bottle to blast you through the day, the night, the moto-cross, the big party.  The guy who jumped from space had Red Bull on his jump suit.  It’s a “live hard, play hard” message in a bottle.  Now there are reports of death after energy drink.  No proven link, but the FDA is on it.

This hour, On Point:  energy drinks, how much is too much, and the way we live now.

Tom Ashbrook


Barry Meier, reporter for the New York Times.

Jeffrey Klineman, editor of

Katie Baker, staff writer for Jezebel.

Steven Lipshultz, Professor of Pediatrics, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

From Tom’s Reading List

NBC News “Does this sound like you? Two cups of coffee in the morning, a coffee break at 11 or so, another cup in the afternoon and a cup after dinner? That might be enough to interfere with sleep or even give some people the jitters, but it’s nowhere near an overdose. It may also be nothing compared to what some teenagers are consuming to deal with schoolwork or job pressures.”

Forbes “Energy drinks make up only a tiny portion of the beverage market, but right now it’s the fastest-growing segment. And although the drinks have fine-print warnings against consumption by those under 18, popularity among preteens and teens is one of the reasons for the growth.  Energy drink sales rose by more than 16 percent last year and Monster was in the lead, with 35 percent of the market. Just last year Monster passed Red Bull, which has been around longer, with 30 percent, and Rockstar at 19 percent.”

Chicago Tribune “The Food and Drug Administration said on Monday that it was investigating reports of five deaths that may be associated with Monster Beverage Corp’s namesake energy drink, and the company’s shares fell more than 14 percent.”

University of Miami “Youth account for half of the energy drink market, and according to surveys, 30 percent to 50 percent of adolescents report consuming energy drinks. Typically, energy drinks contain high levels of stimulants such as caffeine, taurine and guarana, and safe consumption levels have not been established for most adolescents. “

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