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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Energy drinks not as bad as you think

    So you’ve decided there’s no way to go to your accounting class, jog for an hour before your underwater basket-weaving club meeting and then ride off on your bike to work another eight-hour shift. You might have survived all of that, but you are then coerced into joining your buddies for an all-nighter and you just don’t have the chops to stick it out.

    So you turn to the one bastion of hope for just this type of occasion: an energy drink.

    There couldn’t be a better time to be in the energy drink business. The only problem is, in the opinion of yours truly, most of them taste like a cross between battery acid and goat piss. Yet in the opinion of so many others, energy drinks are practically cancer in a can.

    For me, Monster has a good taste, as do a handful of others such as Rock Star Pomegranate and Bawls. I drink it for that reason only: taste. It’s the same reason I drink alcohol, but some people are a bit more careless than that. Some find nothing wrong with downing two 32-ounce cans of the stuff before even leaving the house in the morning. Some people go their entire day without eating or drinking anything but a couple of Rock Stars and wonder where the cramps and heart rage are coming from. Their sleep cycles get destroyed, test anxiety increases exponentially and they wind up relying on their stress and adrenaline to hold it all together.

    But I say to you, my curious and, hopefully, cautious reader, if you are about to begin this life, there are some things you need to know.

    For starters, “”everything in moderation”” is a good philosophy to live by. Reluctant as they probably were to do it, they put it right on the side of the can: “”Do not consume more than three cans per day.”” There is a reason for this.

    Also, food is your friend. The only thing worse than having more energy in your system than you can handle is your body soaking it up like a sponge. Picture a Laotian kid in a sweatshop downing one of these suckers and you’ll see that life will be bleak, like drinking a pint of Jack Daniels on an empty stomach.

    No one should be jockeying for first place in the Self-Induced Heart Attack Olympics, either. Pace yourself, or else you’ll be asked by companies such as Pfizer and Bayer to sponsor them in the final rounds. Don’t drink two of them within, say, an hour of each other. If you think you need the 32-ounce can, think again. Those were invented to be used at parties for Jager bombs. And drinking energy drinks late at night is not a good idea, either. At least not within 2-4 hours from the time you go to bed.

    There is no reason why college students have to destroy themselves with energy drinks. And there is likewise no reason the stuff must have such a bad reputation. Some are worse than others, like anything else, but it’s largely the abuse of them that attracts all the negative media attention. We live in a society where no one looks at causes, only at effects.

    The elder generation might think this “”problem”” wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for energy drinks, but another generation used to think the alcohol “”problem”” wouldn’t exist if there was no alcohol. The problem is not the substance, but the education. Anytime you make a forbidden fruit out of something people are curious about, chaos ensues.

    I could write a book on the effects of poor alcohol education in this country, but the miseducation of energy drinks is far worse. Young people eventually figure out what to do and not do about booze, but all you ever hear about energy drinks is bad, bad, bad.

    I’ve got news for these people. Take one single can of Monster. Did you know there is more sugar in a bottle of Gatorade? Or more caffeine in a cup of tea or coffee? And more carbonation in a regular Coca-Cola?

    They never tell you things of this sort, because now it seems like young people have a drink that’s just for them.

    And the same overweight woman with a fanny pack and diabetes who is telling you that energy drinks are bad will happily return to drink the Diet Coke she’s carrying, believing she’s one up on you. The carbonation, which has been directly linked to osteoporosis, doesn’t bother her a bit. Nor does the poisonous Splenda, which is on the record as being one of the most harmful things you can put into your body. People like this care more about preserving their own bubble than they do about what’s best for you.

    But the government is thrilled to cater to people like this. They give Uncle Sam the excuse for more regulation. “”Ooh! Get that bad man who’s trying to make my son drink those deadly energy drinks!”” And they will, too. They will tax the hell out of them while they’re at it. If young people won’t start drinking these things more responsibly, they will have to answer to the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Energy Drinks.

    Alan Hayman is a media arts junior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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