This is the VOA Special English Health Report.
You could fill a store with all the energy
drinks now available. They promise to make people feel more energetic and think
more clearly. These products have names like Red Bull, Monster, Ripped Force, Speed
Stack and 5-Hour Energy. They appeal mainly to young people and are fueled
mainly by caffeine.
Reissig at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, is a
medical researcher who studies drug dependence. He says the team he works on got
interested in studying energy drinks because of the explosion in their
popularity in the last few years.
He says the researchers found three major
things. One: there are hundreds of brands of energy drinks in most major countries.
Two: the drinks are not clearly labeled with enough information. And three: the
amount of caffeine varies greatly. Some contain as little as fifty milligrams,
others as much as five hundred.
By comparison, a cup of Starbucks brewed coffee
contains three hundred thirty milligrams in four hundred seventy-three
Some energy drinks contain a mixture of ingredients
listed as an "energy blend." Ingredients like taurine, guarana and
inositol are natural substances. But Chad Reissig says scientists do not know a
lot about them and how they interact with each other and caffeine. And worse,
he says, there is no listing of the amount of each ingredient.
Some people combine energy drinks with alcohol. They think
they can drink more alcohol that way and not be affected. Studies, however, suggest
that they are still under the influence of the alcohol even if they do not feel
makers of energy drinks do provide warnings. For example, a popular energy shot
warns against use by people who are pregnant, nursing a baby or under the age
of twelve. Energy shots are small bottles of liquid. The directions also advise
people to limit caffeine products and to drink only half the bottle if they
want a moderate amount of energy.
team at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine published a report in
the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. They suggested better labeling with
the amount of caffeine and other ingredients clearly listed on the drink. The
researchers are continuing to study energy drinks. They are currently seeking
young people who have had a bad experience after drinking them.
that's the VOA Special English Health Report, written by Caty Weaver.
Transcripts and podcasts of our reports are at voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Steve Ember.