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Energy drinks

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Energy drinks

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A variety of energy drinks are available; the skinny "bullet" can shape is popular. A variety of energy drinks are available; the skinny "bullet" can shape is popular.

Energy drinks are beverages that are designed to give the consumer a burst of energy by using a combination of methylxanthines, B vitamins, and exotic herbal ingredients. Energy drinks commonly include caffeine, guarana (extracts from the guarana plant), taurine, various forms of ginseng, maltodextrin, inositol, carnitine, creatine, glucuronolactone and ginkgo biloba. Some contain high levels of sugar, or glucose while most brands also offer an artificially sweetened version. Often manufacturers add a very small dose of a powerful stimulant such as carnitine, but the doses of these add-ins are usually so small that any added “boost” is purely psychological. These drinks are typically marketed towards young people, students, people 'on the go' and those who play sports.

Since the early 2000s, some brands of energy drinks have changed their format and packaging and so plastic and glass bottles are now available. Reload energy drink is a good example of this trend. Since the early 2000s, some brands of energy drinks have changed their format and packaging and so plastic and glass bottles are now available. Reload energy drink is a good example of this trend.

Contents

History

Jolt Cola was released in the 1980s. It was not an energy drink but a high-caffeine, high-sugar brand of cola. It pioneered a marketing strategy still widely in use by energy drinks today, targeting a generally younger audience, mostly students and young professionals (people on-the-go), billing itself as something that was not necessarily healthy but which would allow them to cram more hours into their day. Later, marketing turned further and further toward people involved in the technology industry, and consequently, energy drinks today are commonly associated with the image of a hacker or IT professional, sitting up late at his or her computer trying to stay awake. The recent energy drink phenomenon in North America seemed to follow the sudden popularity of Red Bull, which still has roughly 70% of the market share . Major players such as Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Molson and Labatt have tried to match the small companies' innovative and different approach with marginal success.

In Japan, the energy drink phenomenon dates at least as far back as the early 1960s, with the release of the Lipovitan D drink from Taisho Pharmaceuticals. Most such products in Japan bear little resemblance to soft drinks, and are sold instead in small brown glass medicine bottles or cans styled to resemble such containers. These "genki drinks" are marketed primarily to the salaryman set, to help them work long hours, or to stay awake on the late commute home.

In the beginning of the 21st century, the addition of energy components into alcoholic beverages made an impact on the market. Many malt beverages such as Sparks, 3sum malt beverage, and Max capitalized on the effects of caffeine while drinking alcohol.

Energy drinks are different from sports drinks. Most energy drinks simply provide lots of sugar or caffeine. Sports drinks are intended to replenish electrolytes, sugars, water and other nutrients and are usually isotonic (containing the same proportions as found in the human body). Some products are now available as hybrids between energy drinks and sport drinks, having electrolytes (sport drinks, aka as isotonic beverages) and herbal extracts (energy drinks) such as Reload and Vault (soft drink).

Criticism

Addiction potential

The only possible physically addictive ingredients in most of these drinks are caffeine and guarana, which cause physical addiction in large doses or with prolonged use (quantities in energy drinks are comparable to amounts in coffee). Since withdrawal from both is usually mild, mainly involving headaches, addiction to energy drinks is mostly psychological.

Parents' groups have criticized energy drinks as being irresponsibly marketed to youth, citing possible health hazards (see below), but to date, very few fatalities have been reported from overconsumption of energy drinks.

Health hazard

Little conclusive research have been published so far on the health hazards of energy drinks. However, their high concentration in ingredients such as caffeine and taurine worries certain parents and some medical specialists who suspect that long term use may cause unwanted side-effects. The Red Bull article section has more information on mortality and dental risks. On the other hand, there is no consensus on the existence or lack of health benefits as well. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

Table of energy drinks

A table of energy drinks follows, with a few coffee variants, and some soft drinks such as Bawls, Coca-Cola, Mountain Dew, and Pepsi listed for comparison, and marked in a different color. Note that caffeine content in coffee flavors varies, depending on both caffeine content and how the coffee beans were roasted. Source of some data listed below: Energy Fiend.

Energy drink Caffeine (mg/fl oz) mg/l per serving (quantity)
Bawls 6.70 223 56 mg (8.4 fl oz/250 ml)
Coca-Cola 2.83 95 34 mg (12 fl oz/355 ml)
Cola 2.8-3.9 95-130 34-46 mg (12 oz/355 ml)
Cola (Diet) 2.83 110-141 39-50 mg (12 fl oz/355 ml)
Coffee, brewed 7-16 (varies) 230-580 (varies) 135-180 mg (8 fl oz/237 ml/1 cup)
Coffee, instant 9-14 (varies) 300-467 (varies) 71-111 mg (8 fl oz/237 ml/1 cup)
Espresso 20-50 (varies) 600-1700 (varies) 36-102 mg (2 fl oz/60 ml)
Mountain Dew 4.67 156 55 mg (12 fl oz/355 ml)
Pepsi 3.13 104 37 mg (12 fl oz/355 ml)
Tea 5-6.33 169-211 40-50 mg (8 fl oz/237 ml)

References

External links


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This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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