Editorial: Energy drinks need warnings

Dietitians across the country are expressing concerns about dangers associated with the heavy consumption of popular new brands of energy drinks mixed with alcohol. Drinks such as Red Bull and Jones Whoop-Ass Energy Drink emerged on the market touted as energy drinks that increase athletic endurance.

However, the drinks’ popularity in club settings as both mixers and ways to stay awake give people a false belief that they can drink more than their bodies can take. This misconception concerns some experts in the medical field. Cynthia Sass, a dietitian at USF, said in a report filed by The Associated Press that the drinks combine several stimulants, which when mixed with other stimulants, can amplify each other and become dangerous.

Club owners are attributing the popularity of these drinks to the stimulant ingredients that allow club-goers to stay awake and consume more alcohol. This is the very point that concerns medical experts who say that becoming fatigued is the body’s way of telling a person to stop drinking. Drinking in-and-of-itself contains many dangers. However, if the energy drinks are increasing the body’s natural levels of alcohol tolerance then people need to be aware of the added dangers their actions entail.

“It’s dangerous, this false notion that if I take this energy drink I’m alert and OK,” said Chris Rosenbloom, head for the nutrition department at Georgia State University, in an interview with the AP.

People need to understand the dangers associated with these drinks and recognize how the drinks are to be consumed. If people are going to continue to use the energy drinks in club settings to enhance their alcohol intake then they need to be aware of the dangers associated with mixing the stimulants in the products.

Labels and manufacturer warnings could provide this awareness.