Are Monster energy drinks bad for your health? Energy drinks’ side effects have been debated over the years, but now a new Monster lawsuit from Florida law firm Morgan & Morgan of marijuana legalization fame claims that energy drink deaths means the beverages are not safe to drink. As might be expected, Monster Energy has dismissed the lawsuit as a “copy-cat case filed by personal injury lawyers,” but what do doctors actually say about Monster energy drinks’ health effects?
The Monster lawsuit has its own website, where the law firm Morgan & Morgan claims the “overconsumption of energy drinks has led to heart attacks, strokes and even death.”
- 145 adverse event related to energy drinks were filed with the FDA between 2004 and 2012 with 17 of them listing “death” as the final outcome.
- Emergency room visits related to energy drinks rose from 10,068 in 2007 to 20, 7883 in 2011.
The Monster lawsuit claims two 16-ounce cans of Monster Energy contains a “lethal dose” of caffeine, but the Monster Energy company notes their product is the equivalent of a medium Starbucks coffee.
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According to WTSP, Morgan & Morgan has filed for five cases against Monster Energy in Florida alone while they are planning on investigating over 100 potential cases across the United States. Attorney Andrew Parker Felix says ingredients such as taurine and guarana have not been “adequately tested.”
“Synergistically, when you look at all of these combined, it creates a potentially lethal outcome for normal consumers,” he said.
Apparently, what has the Morgan brothers upset enough to sue Monster Energy is the belief that the company is marketing their product to children without properly disclosing the alleged dangers contained in the can.
“If the consumer can make a knowledgeable choice, that’s OK. That’s on them. But when you hide information and you don’t disclose information, that’s on the company to do something,” said Mike Morgan.
As an example, Morgan says a 14-year-old boy suffered a stroke. But are Monster energy drinks bad enough to be the cause as they claim? Laurie Wright, a registered dietitian and assistant professor at the University of South Florida’s College of Public Health, says she has heard of children having very bad side effects from drinking energy drinks.
“We’ve had a lot of children admitted to the ER and even to the hospital because of energy drinks,” Wright said. “It’s really a deadly combination of caffeine and sugar especially for young minds. Caffeine by itself can really make you feel shaky — your heart races — you may feel short of breath.”
The Mayo Clinic is also not a big fan of energy drinks’ side effects. While the whole point of energy drinks is to provide an energy boost, Mayo Clinic notes the “boost is short-lived, however, and may be accompanied by other problems” such as weight gain from over-consuming sugar. They also note that having too much caffeine can lead to multiple health problems.
- Rapid heartbeat
- Increased blood pressure
In regard to children drinking energy drinks, the Mayo Clinic also gives this advice.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that adolescents get no more than 100 milligrams of caffeine a day,” says the Mayo Clinic. ” Younger children shouldn’t drink caffeinated beverages on a regular basis.”
As for teenagers, energy drinks are advised to either “avoid or especially limit consumption of these beverages.” Instead of reaching for a can, Mayo Clinic says a healthier way to boost your energy is to get “adequate sleep, include physical activity in your daily routine, and eat a healthy diet.”
Wright agrees that there are better alternatives to drinking energy drinks, including water.
“Water is still the best drink of all. Many times when you are dehydrated or low in fluids one of the first symptoms isn’t thirst it’s actually being tired so having a nice drink of cool water and doing some stretching to get the blood flowing a little will get your energy going. For athletes if they’re in extended activities over an hour then I would recommend a sports drink for them.”
What do you think about the Monster energy drinks lawsuit?
[Image via Penn State]