Can Your Energy Drink Kill You?

The FDA is investigating 13 deaths allegedly caused by 5-Hour Energy drinks. 

Posted: 11/20/2012 02:49 PM EST
Can Your Energy Drink Kill You?

We know that you love your energy drinks, whether it’s 50 Cent’s Street King Shots, Red Bull or Monster. A 2012 report conducted by US Mintel found that the folks most likely to consume them are young people, African-Americans and Latinos.

But did you hear that there have been claims that some brands of these beverages can kill you?

Over the past four years, the Food and Drug Administration has received reports that 13 people have died and 33 people have been hospitalized because of 5-Hour Energy, an extremely caffeinated shot, says the New York Times. In the past few weeks, there have been two deaths reported and just last month the FDA admitted that they have received five death reports due to Monster Energy, another popular energy beverage.

Both companies that manufacture these drinks stated that despite these reports, their products are safe.

Yet, some believe that these deaths may be due to the high amounts of caffeine and other ingredients that people are unaware of because of the lack of labeling. But the FDA admits that they don’t have enough evidence to change their current regulations. 

The NY Times wrote:

Unlike Red Bull, Monster Energy and some other energy drinks that look like beverages, 5-Hour Energy is sold in a two-ounce bottle referred to as a shot. The company does not disclose the amount of caffeine in each bottle, but a recent article published by Consumer Reports placed that level at about 215 milligrams.

An eight-ounce cup of coffee, depending on how it is made, can contain from 100 to 150 milligrams of caffeine.

The F.D.A. has stated that it does not have sufficient scientific evidence to justify changing how it regulates caffeine or other ingredients in energy products. The issue of how to do so is complicated by the fact that some high-caffeine drinks, like Red Bull, are sold under agency rules governing beverages, while others, like 5-Hour Energy and Monster Energy, are marketed as dietary supplements. The categories have differing ingredient rules and reporting requirements.

But ABC.com pointed out that most health experts don’t believe that overdosing on caffeine can really kill adults:

Most experts say the fatal dose of caffeine for an adult would be almost impossible to drink — actually 50 to 60 times of what is contained in an energy drink. But critics worry about children with underlying heart problems drinking them, and are warning that energy drinks may be more hazardous than coffee because of the temperature.

In the meantime, we advise you to drink these instant pick-me-ups in moderation.

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 (Photo Illustration:  Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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