Tag Archives: caffeine

7 Things You Must Know About Energy Drinks

Ask a room full of people about energy drinks, and you’re likely to get a room full of different responses. Some people love them, some hate them, and a fair amount fall squarely in the middle. Shape Magazine attempts to shed some light on the issue by breaking down what energy drinks contain, and how they can affect the body.

energy drinks

Whether you’re a regular consumer of energy drinks, or only pop the tab of one occasionally, there are some things everyone needs to know before consuming one.

Energy Drinks Aren’t All Bad All the Time
Everyone has one or two things in their lives they need extra and energy and focus to accomplish. Personally, I turned to energy drinks during sorority recruitment to stay awake and enthused during a long week of mingling. For others, energy drinks can be used to stay alert at work, or power through your workout.


Coffee Plus Stress May Lead to More Stress

I attempt to kick my caffeine habit at least three times a year. I’ll do pretty well for a while, but then I’ll need to stay up late to finish a project, or not sleep very well… You know how it goes.

drinking coffee

The fact is I know I’m far from alone in having an addiction to caffeine that never quite subsides. (However, I’m pretty alone when it comes to my dislike of coffee—I hate it almost as much as I love it!)

In fact, when Shape Magazine polled more than 750 of their readers, they found nearly half of them admitted to drinking more coffee than usual (up to two cups) when they needed to feel more focused, stay alert, and be productive, especially at work.


Jillian Michaels Cheated; Team Loses Big and Ruben Returns to the Biggest Loser Ranch

A shocking moment at last night’s Biggest Loser weigh-in left fans dismayed, confused, and some even celebrating.

Before the contestants stepped on the scale, trainer Jillian Michaels was confronted by Alison Sweeney about giving her team caffeine supplements. “Last week, Jillian broke the rules and gave caffeine supplements to each member of her team without [a] doctor’s permission,” said the host.


NBC responded with a statement this morning, telling us, “While caffeine is allowed in ‘The Biggest Loser’ house, Jillian did not ask permission to give it in supplement form. Because of this rules violation, the previous week’s weigh-in was thrown out.”

Michaels’ white team was penalized four pounds. Bob’s team regained the immunity they would have had last week. And Ruben’s elimination was void, allowing the former American Idol to return.

The trainer said she stands by her professional opinion and the decision she made to give her team caffeine supplements, calling the supplement “significantly healthier than unlimited amounts of coffee.” It should be noted that Michaels does not have formal dietetic training nor certification, but does have a nutrition and wellness consultant certificate with the American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA).

It’s been widely assumed that this sort of back room behavior takes place on the ranch; with accusations of juice fasting, diuretics, and the like swarming for years. One source told us that select players were known to get such caffeine supplements, but it wasn’t something open or available to all contestants. Another source who also requested anonymity, told us, “Everyone knows Jillian has been giving caffeine supplements to her contestants since the first season. And Dr. H prescribes supplements we never hear about.”

If this is fairly common practice on the ranch, a rarely enforced rule, why punish Jillian now? Our first source was shocked that they even aired and explained what happened. Our theory is that the producers needed a reason to get the Velvet Teddy Bear, who revealed a 104 pound total loss in last week’s elimination interview, back on the ranch. (more…)

Take the Decaf Challenge and Enjoy More Health Benefits from Coffee

By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., Best Life lead nutritionist

Need that morning cup of coffee or tea to “really” wake up? If so, you’ve developed a caffeine tolerance. That basically means that caffeine has lost its edge—instead of giving you an extra boost of energy, it simply brings you to the level where you’d be without caffeine. My caffeine conclusion: I have more energy overall without it.


This isn’t just my own personal observation—research backs me up. Caffeine (coffee, tea, or caffeine pills) may offer an immediate spike in mood and alertness, but it doesn’t last. In fact, caffeine could make you feel little more tired and moody later in the day, according to research at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. (more…)

Pepsi’s New Mountain Dew Kickstart is Not a Healthy Breakfast Choice

Just when you thought you’d seen it all, Pepsi tries to sell us on Mountain Dew for breakfast.

PepsiCo announced Monday it will be releasing a new “breakfast” drink. Mountain Dew Kickstart is a Mountain Dew-flavored fruit juice drink that will be available in two flavors: Energizing Orange Citrus and Fruit Punch, according to USA Today.

  • Mountain Dew’s vice president of marketing, Greg Lyons, explained Kickstart was born out of consumer demand. “Our consumers told us they are looking for an alternative to traditional morning beverages – one that tastes great, includes real fruit juice and has just the right amount of kick to help them start their days.” (more…)

Energy Drinks Can’t Support Claims; FDA Investigates Deaths and Illnesses

When the number of people who have either been injured by or died because of energy drinks continues to climb, the FDA starts getting nosey. “FDA is continuing to investigate reports of illness, injury or death of people who took products marketed as ‘energy drinks’ or ‘energy shots,'” they reported late last year, as the numbers continue to climb at an alarming rate.

To be more specific, WebMD shared the following deaths and illnesses linked to leading energy drink brands:

  • 5-Hour Energy Shots – 13 deaths, 92 illnesses
  • Rockstar Energy – 13 illnesses, 2 disabilities

These reports date back to 2004, but became more prevalent in 2012 as usage continued to climb making energy drinks the fastest growing segment of the beverage industry, according to New York Times. These drinks alone sold an astonishing $10 billion. But the cost to consumers appears to be so much higher.

People are swiping these bottles of liquified energy off shelves by the armful hoping to no doubt have more energy, feel more alert, and have an overall better feeling of wellness. Experts are saying these drinks are no more than glorified caffeine, however, which you can get in a cup of coffee. Dr. Roland Griffiths with Johns Hopkins University told the New York Times, “They don’t want to say this is equivalent to a NoDoz because that is not a very sexy sales message.” (more…)

Pepsi Special Aims to Make the Japanese Skinnier with a High-Fiber Additive

Pepsi-Cola isn’t exactly in a healthy industry. Over the past years, big soda companies like Pepsi and Coke have been scrutinized for contributing to the obesity epidemic. In light of this, Pepsi just announced a new fiber-infused flavor, “Pepsi Special,” that claims to reduce fat levels in the body. The product is only sold in Japan.

Pepsi Special contains dextrin, “a type of ‘functional fiber,'” explained our resident dietitian, Mary Hartley, RD. “This is a fiber isolated or extracted from a plant (or, in some cases, manufactured) added to a food. Dextrins are true soluble fibers that can help improve digestion. They act as ‘prebiotics,’ undigested fibers that feed the friendly bacteria in the colon.”

Benefits of dextrin include stabilizing blood glucose, regulating insulin, reducing risk of heart disease, and reducing cholesterol and fat cell levels in the body. Dextrin can be found in glue products as well, but it’s not safe to consume in that form. There are a number of foods and medications that contain dextrin and have for about half a century, notes Hartley. “Most people eat some dextrins every day without noticing a change in weight,” she said.

Will drinking the new Pepsi product make you skinnier? Probably not.

“Pepsi Special is a gimmick. It is just another product to increase market share,” calls out Hartley. (more…)

Monster Energy Linked to Five Deaths, Including a Teenage Girl

Energy drinks are taking a hit this week. Specifically, Monster Energy. The highly caffeinated drink has been cited in five deaths and other dangerous health incidents, which have lead the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate.

CBS News reported this morning that many claims of adverse reactions to Monster Energy drinks have been reported. The drink is a 24-ounce carbonated beverage with 240 milligrams of caffeine. For perspective, that amount is seven times that found in a regular 12 ounce soda.

The most recent startling news about the drink involves the death of a 14-year-old girl. The teen reportedly drank two 24-ounce Monsters in a 24-hour period and later died. Her autopsy determined she died of cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity. CBS reports that the child’s parents were never properly warned by Monster about its possible risks. (more…)

Pre-Workout Supplements Boost Energy and Focus

It’s Friday at 4:30 p.m. and the clock couldn’t be moving any slower. It’s been a long week and you’re more than ready for the weekend to begin.

The only problem (besides the last 30 minutes feeling like an eternity) is you haven’t gotten your workout in for the day. You’re thinking to yourself, “I’m not in the mood to workout”, and it’s the last thing on your mind with the exciting weekend you have planned. In order to avoid skipping the gym, put a few of these motivational ideas of use.

Take a pre-workout supplement
A lot of avid gym-goers that are faithful to their workout routine take a pre-workout supplement before every workout. Pre-workout supplements enhance your workout with ingredients such as caffeine and creatine, which give you a boost of energy and help you maintain more mental focus. (more…)

Energy Drinks Under Investigation by New York State Attorney General: Is it Worth the Fight?

By Rachel Berman, RD Director of Nutrition at CalorieCount.com

Just as the new school year is getting underway and students everywhere are looking for a pick-me-up to stay focused in class, the NY State Attorney General announced his investigation of energy drinks and the safety of their caffeine levels. You might remember a couple of years ago when the USDA forced removal of products from the marketplace, such as Four Loko, which added caffeine to alcohol. They deemed it unsafe since caffeine masks the depressant qualities of alcohol and people who mix the two are more likely to binge drink, according to studies.

However, it seems like there’s a new product appearing every week touting its ability to keep you awake and energized. Energy drinks are a billion-dollar industry, the fastest growing segment of the beverage market, and they generally contain caffeine, other plant based supplements, simple sugars and additives to achieve their goal. According to the CDC, about one-third of teenage Americans consume energy drinks. But the problem is that the drinks are considered dietary supplements and therefore aren’t tightly regulated by the FDA like other foods and beverages. So can energy drinks be bad for your health?

Cap the caffeine

The caffeine content listed on energy drinks doesn’t usually exceed the recommended 400 mg per day for adult. However, if you’re downing more than one or mixing with coffee, soda, and other caffeinated beverages, you might be getting more than you need. The FDA recognizes caffeine as a drug and regulates the amount found in carbonated soft drinks, but not in energy drinks. Too much caffeine can cause increased heart beat, interrupted sleep, irritability, and nervousness. In addition, some studies have found that high caffeine content in energy drinks results in irregular heart beat and increased blood pressure. (more…)