Monstrous Mistakes?

Dangerous Energy Drinks

I must confess that I am a bit of a news junkie, especially now during the height of the current political season.  While watching news correspondents joke about the late nights ahead in reporting election results, they joked about doubling down on energy drinks.  I cringed knowing that the most popular energy shots and drinks are laden with unhealthy levels of caffeine and sugar.  While it’s understandable that we often push ourselves beyond our limits, the trend towards artificial boosts is a dangerous one.

In the News

Recently, the FDA announced several death reports related to Monster Energy drink.   They are investigating the deaths and also evaluating the sources of caffeine and other caffeine related ingredients to see if there is a concern or correlation.  According to WebMD Health News, the “U.S. Drug Abuse Warning network reported a tenfold spike in emergency room visits involving energy drinks.”  Most alarming was the fact that over 70% of the cases involved children and teens from 12–17 yrs old.

Marketing Mayhem

Instant energy sounds like a good thing, doesn’t it?  Add some edgy graphics, throw in a cool star athlete or two and you’ve got the makings for an excellent marketing strategy.  A round table of industry leaders asked a basic question, “Would you rather have an inferior product with superior marketing or a superior product with inferior marketing?”  Nearly 100% responded that they’d opt for the inferior product.  Just because something is on the store shelf at your local supermarket or commissary, doesn’t mean it is safe or healthy for you. The FDA has a mandated limit of 71 milligrams of caffeine in a 12-​​ounce soda.  Because energy shots and drinks are marketed as nutritional supplements, the FDA limits don’t apply.

Other Culprits

Many energy drinks and shots also contain so-​​called “natural” ingredients for energy and performance enhancements.  Watch out for ingredients like the following:

  • Guarana — plant containing caffeine as well as theophylline and theobromine which are similar to caffeine
  • Yerba Mate — tropical plant said to relieve fatigue and promote weight-​​loss. Contains caffeine and excess amounts may increase cancer risk.
  • Bitter Orange — stimulant like effect — synephrine and octopamine chemicals similar to ephedra which is banned by the FDA.
  • Yohimbine -  a chemical within Yohimbe (from the bark of an evergreen tree) said to increase blood flow.  However, it may lead to severe side effects including irregular or rapid heart rate, seizures, anxiety, depression, even kidney failure.  It’s actually considered a prescription drug in the U.S. and is especially dangerous for people with PTSD.
  • Alcohol — a dangerous trend to add energy drinks and caffeine to alcoholic drinks.  Use of energy drinks and alcohol are linked to higher levels of alcohol consumption. According to recent studies, “Individuals who combine energy drinks with alcohol underestimate their true level of impairment.”  The FDA also warned several companies that caffeine added to their beverages is “an unsafe food additive.”

Clean Energy Alternative

Dr. Manny Alvarez at Foxnews​.com has it right, “Energy drinks are labeled wrong.  They don’t energize you — they stimulate you.”  If you really want or need a boost, look to healthy ingredients that tap into your body’s natural energy sources to address the fatigue cycle not mask it over.  Here are my favorites (found in 24KTM, see details below) to combat stress,  improve my brain function (yippee!) and give me better mental clarity and focus.

  • Omega-​​3 Fatty Acids — instrumental in the function of brain cell membranes and proven to help improve learning and memory.
  • Resveratrol — improves blood flow to the brain, enhancing brain performance & focus.
  • B Vitamins — essential for the body’s energy production and optimal brain function.
  • Beta Alanine — reduces fatigue, improves strength and endurance.
  • Coenzyme Q10 - brain-​​enhancing nutrient and central to cellular energy production.
  • Valerian Root — provides “alert relaxation,” or energy without the jitters; shown to reduce stress in those experiencing anxiety.
  • Gama Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) – serves as a neurotransmitter that reduces anxiety; controls the brain’s theta waves and increases endorphins.

Ultimately, the best ways to combat fatigue are to do the things you already know: exercise, get your rest, simplify your schedule to reduce stress, drink water, eat a balanced diet including lean protein, don’t smoke and limit your alcohol intake.  If you still want a little boost, cut out the monstrously-​​amped-​​bullish hype and stick with natural nutrients that support your body and your brain for a more balanced you!

Gold Standard: High-​​sugar caffeine drinks only bring an artificial lift — and a hard crash. But now there’s a better way to keep your edge: 24K, Reliv’s healthy energy shot.  24K’s synergistic blend of 24 active ingredients taps into your body’s natural vitality to provide energy, focus and stress relief. And with no caffeine, no sugar and only 5 calories per serving, it’s healthy energy for body, mind and spirit. Through our VIP program, consumers also enjoy significant discounts on all 24KTM orders in their own private shopping lounge as well as access to an entire line of performance nutrition. www​.My24kVIP​.com vip code: gold

The VIP program also provides an excellent income stream as well for military families, veterans, businesses and non-​​profits.  With a $25 annual membership, members enjoy generous wholesale discounts and lucrative retail profits year-​​round with no minimum purchases.  www​.reliv​.com/​j​oin enter sponsor RCN: 53960101

“May all go well with you and may you be in good health.”

Copyright © 2012 by Christine A.Toriello, all rights reserved.




  1. Lil says:

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  2. mark scales says:

    I work for a can company that makes energy drink cans. It is very good business, and is growing very fast in across a broad spectrum of the market. Lots of products that are made could be harmful, beer, bourbon, donuts, etc. In a free economy, people are free to make choices, and I believe it is still a parents responsibility to manage their children in such a way that they aren\‘t exposed to danger. I also know how difficult that is. I don\‘t believe Big Brother should pick out our food, drinks and portions. I wouldn\‘t want them telling me what tires to buy, what car to buy, how fast to drive, or how much to eat.

    • Thanks for your comments, Mark. Glad to know your business is thriving. I grew up in a family of metallurgists — we had a foundry in our garage during the summer and we were always pouring aluminum castings. Pretty cool that you\‘re in that business! Yes, people need to educate themselves and I agree that we don\‘t want a nanny state, we want an educated and well-​​informed consumer.

  3. Marty says:

    Thank you for sharing this information.

    My favorite is Juice Plus+ Complete — not just a protein powder — it is a complete nutritional drink, one that can be used as a meal replacement which of course can be beneficial with weight loss, and it\‘s all Vegetable protein. Amongst other things, it has pumpkin, pomegranite, spirulina, sprouts, quinoa and other grains and just so many good things for you! Getting too much protein can be harmful, so I love that it is a balanced drink, loaded with so many good nutrients.

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Chris Toriello

Chris is a military spouse and a successful entrepreneur working from home along the beautiful Maine coast. A former mechanical engineer, Chris has a passion for sports and fitness. As a worldwide trainer and nutritional expert, Chris has mentored and coached individuals, families, businesses, non-profit and sports organizations to perform at their peak with optimal nutrition. She also teaches marketing and branding of an elite performance nutrition product line to help others expand their brand and develop a viable passive income stream.

"We also hold the exclusive rights to the world's first epigenetic superfood, Lunasin. Nutritional epigenetics is about to experience explosive growth and we are actively seeking business partners to help us with this massive expansion (the initial business registration fee is waived for all active duty military)." To see what all the excitement is about, contact Chris at, 207.657.6978 or