In Defense of Energy Drinks

Posted: November 23, 2011 by terryvandrovec in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

NOS packs a punch even by energy-drink standards

According to a recent tweet by CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell, one of the best follows on Twitter, Americans will spend more money on energy drinks than bottled water for the first time in 2012. You could practically hear the eyes rolling over this development, doctors, health nuts and general haters scoffing at the notion that our nation has gone so far astray in terms of its beverage preferences.

If this shift indeed is a problem, then I’m a part of it. I’ve had roughly two energy drinks today and there’s another dozen – an assortment of Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar, NOS, Venom and the locally grown Shogun – in my fridge just waiting to be hammered.

But before you judge me, take note of what I am not: a meth addict, morbidly obese, an action-sports star, a Jersey Shore cast member or Paris Hilton. Did I miss any other stereotypes of energy drinkers?

What I am is a 32-year-old college grad with a wife, multiple kids (I’ve lost count), a mortgage, a 24-hour-a-day job, a workout addiction and a side blog. Also, I run a daddy daycare 3-4 days a week, keeping tabs of a recovering micro-preemie with extra medical needs. And if that doesn’t justify my caffeine crutch, I also have a mild case of narcolepsy, probably the result of extended sleep deprivation. (Of course, I’m hardly alone on that front – a recent study showed that South Dakotans are among the worst in the country when it comes to getting enough rest.)

In other words, I don’t drink this stuff to get hyped up, to flip BMX bikes or to fist pump to techno music – I do it to survive. So, yes, it might be more important to my daily routine than bottled water, especially when I can get tap water for free.

Crack fiend Tyrone Biggums also dabbles in energy drinks

Certainly, I could switch to coffee, but I’m just not a coffee guy aside from the occasional mocha or latte. I’m not a huge fan of the taste, it’s less convenient and – unlike the sugar-free versions of energy drinks – I’m not certain of the caloric values. And I’ve done the diet soda thing (note the use of “soda” rather than “pop” – I’m hoping to start a movement) to little avail. Caffeine seems akin to crack cocaine (or so I’m told) in that you build up an immunity, eventually needing larger quantities to get the desired effect. I’m not looking to get high – I just want to stay vertical.

This is the part of the pep-talk where you say, ‘But aren’t empty calories less damaging than whatever is in an energy drink?’ Yes. Probably. Maybe. I’m not sure. My wife and oldest daughter are convinced this is a dangerous habit, although I think some of their concerns stem from the exploding-heart jokes I make. (Funny, right?) To this point, there have been no obvious side effects aside from the occasional jitters, which can range from “that guy looks anxious” to “does he have Parkinson’s?” I’m basically hoping they’re not terrible for me, purposely avoiding doing too much reading on the topic for fear of bad news. All I know is that they’re crammed full of life-giving caffeine, (especially NOS), a substance that my youngest daughter received via IV when in the NICU. If I had a nickel for every time I considered suckling from the teat of that plastic bag …

Rationalizations aside, I’m admitting that excessive caffeinating (if that’s a word) is a form of self-medicating. Odds are it’s not good for me – if not outright damaging. But it’s become part of my lifestyle, a necessity in the smartphone era, a performance-enhancing drug for the Average Joe.

And I’m not alone in fitting into that demographic, assuming Mr. Rovell has his facts straight.

  1. shawnfury says:

    True story: I’ve had one sip of coffee in my life, and my lips have never touched an energy drink. You make it sound good, though. I too have the shakes, but that’s my 4-5 Dr Peppers a day.

    Sidenote: I sometimes wonder if Rovell isn’t on meth.

    My biggest question about energy drinks: What’s the taste like? Do you enjoy it or are you in it only for the high?

    • Gee, Shawn, I’m glad you asked …
      I’m a sugar-free guy so most of the stuff I think tastes akin to diet soda. But some are downright effervescent – those are my favorite. The Xyience Cherry Lime is excellent by any standard.
      So, yes, I actually do like the taste, although I realize that many don’t.

  2. Mark says:

    You’ll get my coffee when you pry it from my warm, dead, hands.

    (warm because it was holding a cup of coffee… see what I did there?)

    I pass on the energy drinks, but drink enough coffee for probably 4 grown adults.

  3. BTD says:

    Hey Terry,

    Because you are an energy drink aficionado, I already like you! Awesome guy, I say! I emit the aforementioned words because of this prolonged backlash against energy drinks that’s being dished out by the media (ScArE TaCtIcS R Us). It’s tiresome. I loathe it.

    I seriously do loathe it, brother. It makes me livid.

    You see, I’m going to college, and my aim is to acquire a degree in nutrition. I’ve done a lot of reading on energy drinks, particularly about stimulants, synthetic vitamins, artificial sweeteners and all of that jazz. Not to sound like an arrogant buffoon, but I’d like to think I know my stuff.

    I’ve been hooked to energy drinks since about March 2008. I should say caffeine, but I’ll go with energy drinks. You should check out Spike energy, particularly their product Spike Shooter. It’s a 8.4 ounce can with 300 mg of caffeine, B vitamins, L-Tyrosine and Yohimbine. Definitely give it a chance if you ever find it and write about what you think.

    I read about all of these young kids, consuming energy drinks and dying. Doctors and the media automatically link this to energy drinks, but I disagree. I guarantee you, and everybody else, and I bet the biggest bottom dollar to the hottest chocolate doughnut that these kids were dehydrated and not consuming enough water before consuming caffeine (a known diuretic) and other stimulants. This cannot be verified, though, because I doubt doctors (who only study nutrition for roughly 6 hours) give a good googily moogily about checking up on how hydrated a person is or their pH acid levels.

    Sorry about the rant… it just irritates me all over the place when it comes to energy drink hatin’ mongrels. I’m glad to see that you are fighting the good fight, TV. Have a good one, man, and keep writing about energy drinks!

  4. shawnfury says:

    I think BTD had about 12 energy drinks before that comment.

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