Energy fiend


Red Bull, Rocket Star, Monstor, Full Throttle and Mountain Dew Amp are a few examples of energy drinks on the market.

These are some of the energy drinks targeted toward college students.

According to Beverage Digest, the energy-drink market racked in $3.5 million in sales last year.

“Energy drinks are very similar to coffee, or any caffeine products like Coke or Pepsi. They just have more sugar and caffeine,” said Mark Haub, associate professor of nutrition. “If you actually look at the product, it’s not much different between drinking a few cups of coffee.”

Students’ responsibilities seem to require more and more energy, yet their daily schedules do not allow them sufficient time to rest and recharge.

K-State Cheerleader James Bowen said, “I have an energy drink in the morning that usually helps wake me up. It’s like my coffee, since coffee is nasty.”

Bowen said he sometimes gets overwhelmed with class, practice and homework.

“Students feel they need more energy especially in the summer because classes are at a much faster pace,” Haub said.

However, at some point a person’s body is going to give in and make the rest of their immune system break down and get ill, Haub said.

“Energy drinks will give you a boost for a minimum amount of time and then you will have a problem. It’s a good idea to plan rest and leisure instead of body telling you by getting a cold,” Haub said.

Other college students use energy drinks as a mixer with alcohol.

“When I drank Red Bull and vodka the difference was being a little more alert than I usually am while drinking,” said Amanda Smith, senior in elementary education.

Several local bars serve energy drink and alcohol drink mixes.

“It’s a pretty popular drink,” when referring to Red Bull and vodka, said Kris Smith, general manager at Kite’s Bar and Grill in Aggieville.

Mixing alcohol and energy drinks might be the popular thing to do, said Amber Long, assistant director at the Peters Recreational Complex. But it does, however, pose some dangers, she said.

“Since an energy drink is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant, the two mixed together can be hazardous because the energy drink can mask how intoxicated a person may actually be,” Long said.

This can be very dangerous because a person may not know that they are impaired and not fit to drive or make decisions, she said.

“You’re drinking an energy drink so you feel more energized, but the effect of alcohol is not taking on as quickly as it usually would, which can make you impaired,” Long said.

Another improper time to drink energy drinks is while exercising.

“I don’t recommend energy drinks to be used while exercising because of two things: dehydration and abnormal increase of heart rate, which may be bad for people who are older or have heart problems,” Long said.

For those who drink caffeine before working out, the health risks can be smaller, she said.

“A little caffeine before you work out is not a bad thing, but energy drinks are chalked full of caffeine and sugar,” Long said. “You may not need that much, drinking water while your working out to alter effect of dehydration that results from energy drink.”