With the recent rise of energy drinks and increased reliance on the more traditional coffee and tea, it’s important to take a step back and look at what they really do for us. Sure, drinks like these have their benefits. For most consumers, they can give off the intended effects of providing enough of the energy needed to get through the day. However, most energy drinks have brought up a variety of health concerns due to their large quantities of sugar and caffeine. Their subsequent increase in heart rate has been, in the long run, linked to increase risk of both stroke and heart disease, along with more immediate effects of fatigue and dehydration.
Recently, a company called Neuro (stylized “neuro”) has been selling a line of drinks catering to specific needs, in contrast to regular energy drinks such as Red Bull and Monster. Of the nine diverse varieties, the three which the company alleges will have immediate impact are Neuro Bliss (which claims to reduce the drinker’s stress to enhance his mood), Neuro Sonic (which claims to provide mental energy to enhance performance) and Neuro Sleep (which claims to provide restful sleep in order to support healthy mental function), each with varying levels of effectiveness.
For the most part, Neuro drinks don’t have certifiably unhealthy side effects. The drinks hold only 35 calories per bottle and the active chemicals are mostly benign, with the chemical l-theanine proving to be naturally stress-relieving. However, phosphatadylserine, a component of both Neuro Bliss and Neuro Sonic have been shown to cause upset stomachs as well as insomnia. In addition, Neuro Sonic’s reservatrol may slow healing in general. Still, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved the drinks’ contents. It’s the statements about the drinks that haven’t been certified.
With these conditions, it’s easy for a company like Neuro to play up its products’ effects. They can make claims such as “supports healthy well being” and “supports memory” in order to gain popularity, with no repercussions yet for their exaggeration. It seems clear this is a marketing ploy, which is reasonable. The more distressing fact about these products, though, is that they expand the purpose of simple energy drinks to every daily physical problem a consumer could encounter. Regardless of whether a buyer can’t stay awake, fall asleep or is too stressed, there is now a drink for that.
If a consumer were to become addicted to these products, it would quickly be deemed ridiculous and almost comical. However, in American society, equal reliance is a regular occurrence on similar drinks with less absurd marketing tactics.
According to the American Medical Association, over one-fourth of U.S. residents intake over 600 milligrams of caffeine on a daily basis– a consumption level the Mayo Clinic has labeled as far beyond suggested amounts and cause for side effects such as an upset stomach, fast heartbeat and muscle tremors. A survey conducted by Career Builder also found that one-third of U.S. workers admit that they “depend on coffee to make it through the day.” And while a drink such as Neuro Sonic may seem unsafe, it actually has only 50 milligrams of caffeine in it. This is about one-twelfth of the heavy consumption that a quarter of Americans consume in an average day. A generic brewed coffee can have up to 200 milligrams of caffeine and a Starbucks brewed cup contains 330.
With this in mind, we can easily see that while a daily reliance on Neuro Sonic to stay awake may be ridiculous, it is in fact far worse to be reliant on acceptable drinks such as coffee or tea.
The same goes for Neuro Sleep in comparison to a legitimate sleeping pill. And if daily consumption of Neuro Sleep and Sonic would be seen as unacceptable (which as far as we can tell by the reactions to us drinking them from our classmates, it would be) then so, too, should sleeping pills and regular use of caffeinated drinks.
The simple truth is, as much of a luxury these products can be, they are far from a necessity. The risk of becoming dependent on these drinks outweighs the temporary benefits, and allowing our bodies to handle the day naturally is a far better option. If we feel that isn’t enough, it would benefit us to try healthier, less processed alternatives.