When pop princess Britney Spears needs a pick-me-up, she turns to a popular energy drink for a quick boost. Red Bull mixed with apple juice, she has said, “really pumps me up.”
And that’s the idea. Highly caffeinated energy drinks – such as Red Bull, Go-Fast! and Monster – market themselves as sources of increased energy and concentration. Their websites feature high-flying motorcyclists and upside-down skateboarders as dynamic embodiments of all that concentrated energy.
But are these drinks good for you? Maher Karam-Hage, M.D., an addiction specialist at the University of Michigan Health System, raises some concerns about the beverages, particularly when they are mixed with alcohol, ingested before intensive exercise or used by children. “In the United States, these energy drinks have not had any warnings. In Europe, it’s been more cautionary,” says Karam-Hage, medical director of the Chelsea-Arbor Treatment Center, a joint program of the U-M Health System and Chelsea Community Hospital. He notes that France has banned some of the drinks and other countries have placed restrictions on them. “In this country, our advertisements for these drinks and the marketing are ahead of the science.”
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U-M Health Topics A-Z: Caffeine and athletic performance
U-M Health Topics A-Z: Pre-competition meals
The effects of caffeine on children
The effects caffeine has on people’s bodies:
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