772: Energy Drinks | Skeptical Sunday
Energy Drinks. What is in these things? Why are some people hooked on them? Why are they wild, unnatural colors? What exactly do they do? Are they dangerous? Are they hype? Or are they both? Sit back, pour yourself a nice tall glass of carbonated, bright-blue, sugar-packed whatever the hell this is, commence vibrating, and get the straight dope on energy drinks.
Welcome to Skeptical Sunday, a special edition of The Jordan Harbinger Show where Jordan and fact-checker, comedian, and podcast host David C. Smalley break down a topic that you may have never thought about, open things up, and debunk common misconceptions.
Full show notes and resources can be found here: jordanharbinger.com/772
On This Week's Skeptical Sunday, We Discuss:
- Energy drinks have been linked to irregular heartbeats, cardiomyopathy (a disease that makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood), increased blood pressure, and other heart conditions.
- A lot of people in the fitness world like energy drinks, especially diet ones, because they get an energy boost for working out without a huge caloric intake — but their bodies tend to be healthy enough to deal with any adverse effects.
- When it comes to caffeine, experts recommend no more than 400 mg per day for adults, or 100 mg for kids. A standard cup of coffee provides anywhere between 95 mg to 200 mg, while one can of an energy drink varies by brand from 111 mg to 280 mg.
- The FDA warns that 4,200 mg of caffeine can be lethal to an average adult if ingested all at once — although other conditions can exacerbate its effect at much lower doses. An autopsy reported "caffeine toxicity" as a contributor to a 14-year-old's death after she drank just two cans of 24 oz Monster energy drinks — or about 488 mg of caffeine.
- Most energy drinks contain B12 and lots of other vitamins that can be good for fighting off depression (especially in vegans with a low B12 intake), but supplements can provide the same benefits without added caffeine and sugar.
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