Energy Drinks, Do They Really Work?

For many people, no day can start without a healthy dose of caffeine. Those looking for an edge by chugging an energy drink may be disappointed to find out there is no proof these drinks work as advertised.

The best example is Red Bull, a company that promises their drink “gives you wings.” Promises like that have turned energy drinks in the fastest growing market in the beverage industry. In 2012, energy drink sales rose to $10 billion.

Studies are now beginning to show that all the hoopla may be overblown. Dr. Roland Griffiths, a researcher at John Hopkins University who has spent years studying energy drinks, believes these companies choose to market this way to sell the product:

“These are caffeine delivery systems. They don’t want to say this is equivalent to a NoDoz because that is not a very sexy sales message.”

Associate Professor at Minnesota State University, Dr. Robert W. Pettitt, says:

“If you had a cup of coffee you are going to affect metabolism in the same way.”

With doubt placed behind all the promises, the New York Times is reporting that Democratic Representative of Massachusetts Edward J. Markey has asked the government to investigate the industry’s marketing claims.

Markey believes that, by marketing their products as providing benefits beyond caffeine like a mental edge, energy drink companies are able to charge premium prices for their products.

The European Food and Safety Authority has published studies that conclude the effects that energy drinks provide equal to those of the caffeine coffee provides.

The Food and Drug Administration is even placing energy drink companies under the microscope after a series of caffeine-related deaths.

At the same time, Red Bull claims on its own website that more than 2,500 reports have been published about taurine, its main stimulant, and its physiological effects.

Here is a Red Bull commercial to emphasize how they market their energy drink:

What do you think, is it fair for a company to market a product based on un-substantiated claims?