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Energy Drinks: Monster Side Effects
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Energy Drinks: Monster Side Effects

You may have heard about the five alleged deaths and one heart attack tied to the consumption of the popular energy drink Monster Energy. This is especially scary because this is a beverage that anyone can purchase at the grocery store or convenience store, regardless of their age. The other frightening fact is that one of the deaths linked to the consumption of this drink was that of a 14-year-old girl. Her cause of death was defined as "caffeine toxicity."

Energy drinks are so popular because of the caffeine boost they provide. One 24-ounce can of Monster Energy contains a whopping 240 milligrams of caffeine, which is equivalent to seven cans of Coke. Not only is this unhealthy, but it is also quite dangerous. Adding to the danger is the fact that, because energy drinks are considered dietary supplements, their ingredients are NOT regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Keri Peterson, a physician on the advisory board of Women's Health magazine, says that some energy drinks also contain herbs such as guarana and yerba mate, which contain additional caffeine. And she confirms that although deaths related to caffeine toxicity are rare, they can happen. I occasionally enjoy a good cup of coffee, which of course contains caffeine.

However, when I drink coffee I only have one or two cups, and I recommend my clients do the same. (Don't forget to drink extra water to make up for the fluid loss when you have your coffee, since caffeine is a diuretic!) We all need to be more mindful of the amount of caffeine that we consume and help our kids learn to do the same. Dr. Peterson recommends consuming no more than 200 mg of caffeine each day. That might sound like a lot, but it can add up pretty quickly. For instance, an eight-ounce cup of coffee has between 100-200 mg of caffeine, and the same serving of soda contains about 70 mg. Have you ever reached for some extra-strength Excedrin when your head hurt? Two tablets contain a surprising 130 mg of caffeine! If you know any college students who like to take caffeine pills while they study, be sure to let them know that the maximum-strength dose (one tablet) of NoDoz has 200 mg of caffeine in it. (All caffeine-content stats are from the Center for Science in the Public Interest.)

So, the next time you grab a cup of coffee or soda with the hopes of elevating your energy level, think of all the side effects caffeine can cause: insomnia, headaches, and irritability. The best way to have a lot of energy and gusto is to eat the healthy foods on the Beyond Diet plan. Trust me: I have more energy than anyone amped up on caffeine - without the side effects - and you can, too!