Energy Drinks are a Monster Mistake


Sophia Liu/Art Director

Erica Jiang, Staff Writer

Whether I have a soccer game or just need a little energy boost during A period, I turn to energy drinks on a weekly basis to keep up with my daily hustle and bustle. Although I try to restrict my energy drink intake, I have many peers who drink them multiple times every day! Just take a look at the Girls Varsity Soccer team’s Instagram, which Celsius practically sponsors (we wish)! Half of the time, the drinks do nothing, but the other 50% of the time, they send me into spits of nausea or make me want to escape the sound of my own beating heart. With all these side effects, and, at times, no tangible benefits, I sometimes wonder why I continue to drink them. 

Despite the euphoria produced by cracking open a cold Celsius and listening to its sizzle, scientists and educators alike have consistently advised against adolescent energy drink consumption for fear of major health risks. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against young adults consuming more than 100 mg of caffeine, or the equivalent of one cup of coffee, per day. Energy drinks often surpass this caffeine limit, with just one 12oz can of Celsius or Prime Energy containing 200mg of caffeine. 

In addition to caffeine, energy drinks contain a myriad of other stimulants—drugs that increase activity of the central nervous system—that pose potential health concerns such as sleep disturbances, heart palpitations, and more. For example, Celsius contains ingredients such as ginseng, guarana, L-carnitine, and taurine, which have been banned by the National Collegiate Athletics Association, the National Olympic committee, and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

If these drinks pose so many health risks, why are they so popular among our generation? 

One factor is the industry’s use of marketing tactics. Bright packaging and catchy names often grab the attention of young consumers like us, who are, as studies have shown, more likely to make impulsive purchases based on aesthetic appeal.

Furthermore, energy drink advertising campaigns draw in young consumers with influencers. One brand heavily reliant on social media marketing is Bang Energy. The brand’s campaign has been super successful, and I am sure you have seen at least one advertisement for the drink – bonus points if it was on TikTok. Bang Energy contracts influencers as long-term brand ambassadors to produce sponsored content over long periods of time, and what can I say? If Jojo Siwa is taking a sip of it and then pulling off some sick dance moves, I just need to have it. Whenever I see Bang Energy in the real world, I am always tempted to buy a can, even if I just want to see if it lives up to the hype. For many drinks, I think the idea of the beverage and an energy boost is more tempting than the actual effects: I have seen Logan Paul and KSI’s Prime advertised everywhere, so I tried it, and I mean, what wrong can Logan Paul do? Even if the drink did not do much, drinking it was exhilarating in itself. 

Beyond the flashy marketing, the more obvious temptation for energy drinks is teenagers’ busy schedules. The academic demands of the school often mean that students have to sacrifice sleep to get their work done, which leads to a reliance on caffeine. I often see students walk into school holding cans of Celsius, only to swap it out for a fresh can once it is finished. Even the school itself plays into the hype for energy drinks, with the Mong Family Café offering an addition of an “energy and focus shot” to any drink for 25 cents. On top of these shots, the school also offers ICE energy drinks for purchase, with each 16oz can including 70mg of caffeine. Though this may not seem like much compared to the 200mg found in other beverages, I do not believe the school should even be promoting the use of stimulants. Since students are always so stressed with schoolwork, the addition of stimulants may make students even more anxious. Especially for students who would not typically buy energy drinks at home, it is unnecessary exposure that may drag even more people into this fad that originated with Coke.. 

Now, if energy drinks are so bad, what about coffee? Coffee tends to be the better choice, and has been shown to protect your body from diseases and support liver health, in moderation. Though drinks like Celsius are sugar free and low-calorie, this tends to be achieved through the addition of artificial sweeteners, which may interfere with parts of the brain related to energy, metabolism, and taste perception. In any case, students should not view caffeine or supplements as long-term solutions to sleep deprivation. Instead, experts say that you should focus on regular exercise, a balanced diet, and of course, sleeping enough. I do not hope for caffeine to be completely taken off of the racks, but I do think energy drinks that contain countless artificial chemicals should not be so easily accessible to teenagers.

The increasing demands of our fast-paced, 24/7 hustle culture can leave many feeling exhausted and burnt out with endless to-do lists. In this context, energy drinks may be viewed as a quick fix to increase productivity and combat fatigue. However, we must ask ourselves, at what cost?