Monster Energy Drink has been under scrutiny since being cited as a factor in five deaths and one heart attack in the past year by the Food and Drug Administration.
As a result, FDA is seriously investigating these claims after a 14-year-old girl died of a cardiac arrhythmia upon drinking two 24-ounce cans of Monster on consecutive days, according to an Oct. 23 article in the New York Times.
Since their inception, energy drinks have been a highly debated topic. They contain high amounts of caffeine and other stimulants that can be harmful to the system if consumed in large quantities.
Alexander Corcoran, a physician’s assistant at McLaren Central Michigan Health Services, said he discourages against energy drinks.
“In general, I do discourage against energy drinks. I typically recommend limiting caffeine in general, but energy drinks in particular. This is due to the high sugar content and additional ingredients,” he said. “Also, energy drinks typically are consumed by high school and college age students who use the effects to stay up late playing video games or studying, something that is not good for your overall health and is avoidable with good planning and good decision-making.”
Monster drinks contain 240 milligrams of caffeine per 24-ounce can, or seven times the amount of caffeine in a traditional 12-ounce can of soda, according to an Oct.28 article in the Detroit Free Press.
“The long term implications of chronic, excessive, caffeine use is an increased risk for cardiac arrhythmia or irregular heart rhythm, high blood pressure, strokes, and an increased risk for cardiac death,” Corcoran said. “The long term use of energy drinks that contain a high amount of sugar is dental carries (cavities), gingivitis, obesity, and even diabetes for higher risk individuals.”
Senators are also taking action against energy drinks, arguing in favor of the FDA to close loopholes, which currently allow energy drink makers, such as Monster, to sell these products with additives and levels of caffeine that have not been proven to be safe.
“These were the first deaths that I have heard of, but I have heard of energy drinks causing arrhythmia, episodes of vertigo (light-headedness), and syncope (passing out or losing consciousness) death allegations have been linked to cases going back as far as 2004,” Corcoran said.
In a statement issued last week, Monster said they were “unaware of any fatality anywhere that has been caused by its drinks,” according to the Detroit Free Press.
Despite these effects, Corcoran said consuming energy drinks in moderation is all right.
“Having a Monster every now and again because you need to cram for an exam, or you were up too late the night before and just want something to kick-start you day will probably not cause any long-term health effects,” Corcoran said.
Freshman Nicole Felty tries to stay away from energy drinks.
“There (are) too many healthier options for getting energy that I avoid energy drinks in general,” the Comstock Park native said. “I don’t like the crash either.”
Not to mention caffeine is addiction, Felty said.
“I do not like the thought of being addicted to anything, the withdrawals are not worth it and the habit is too expensive for a poor college student like me,” she said.