They call them energy drinks.
But perhaps they should be referred to as “stimulant” drinks. The various energy drinks, from the little shots you buy on the counters of convenient stores to the tall cans purported to “give you wings” all have one thing in common — caffeine. Well, they actually have another thing in common — the don’t have to tell you how much caffeine that’s in them either.
A regular cup of coffee has 95 milligrams of caffeine. So you wake up after a not-so-long night’s sleep and brew a pot of coffee before you start your day. Chances are, you sit and sip your fresh-brewed cup. Perhaps you feel like a second cup, so you stumble over to the coffee pot and pour another one.
So, over the course of maybe an hour or 90 minutes, you’ve gradually put 200 milligrams of caffeine into your system. However, if you’re on the run and didn’t have time to brew a pot and just slammed down a shot of energy drink in a little two-ounce bottle, you’ve shocked your body will more than 200 milligrams within seconds.
“Getting a lot of caffeine all at once along with potentially harmful megadoses of vitamins is a bad way to go, and there is real potential for misuse,” said Dr. Tod Cooperman, president of consumberlab.com, which tested several.
“Thousands of case reports bear this out. In addition, people who mix energy drinks and alcohol are more likely to engage in risky behavior because it makes them feel or act alert while they are mentally compromised.”
Thousands go to emergency rooms across the country each year because of caffeine overdoses. And, sadly, 11 lose their lives.
“The problem with consuming large amounts of caffeine is two-fold, One, it targets the central nervous system directly. Two, it can lead to dehydration and loss of water-soluble nutrients that have a calming effect on the central nervous system. This combined effect can cause agitation and sleep problems and potentially lead to the development of long-term anxiety issues,” Dr. K. Steven Whiting, author of “Healthy Living Made Easy,” told The Huffington Post.
Heart palpitations. Chest pain. Tremors. Shortness of breath.
These are the symptoms that doctors in emergency rooms see when too much energy drinks are consumed. And a lot of those cases are children, who can freely open a cooler at their local store and buy one. Or two. Or three.
There’s been a push for lawmakers and the Food and Drug Administration to put the brakes on children being allowed to purchase these products. Others believe in buyer beware, though uninformative labeling makes that a little difficult.
But we wondered what our readers thought of energy drinks. So when we wonder, we ask our readers on our online poll question, which can be found each week at www.timeswv.com. Last week we asked, “A study found that energy drinks may increase blood pressure, putting consumers at risk for sudden cardiac episodes and even death. Should they be regulated?”
And here’s what you had to say:
• Perhaps warning labels would help, like those attached to cigarettes and alcohol — 22.89 percent
• Absolutely not — people should be responsible for what they eat and drink — 24.1 percent
• Yes! Children should never be allowed to purchase such drinks — 53.01 percent
We’ll keep our finger on the pulse of this issue, if you’ll pardon the bad pun, as it’s sure to heat up in the coming months.
This week, let’s talk about health again. Two of West Virginia’s largest population areas — Charleston and Huntington — ranked the lowest for “well being” on a recent Gallop poll, which doesn’t bode well for the rest of the state, receiving a failing grade for physical and emotional health, work environment and access to basic necessities. How can we tackle health problems in the Mountain State?
Log on. Vote. Email me or respond online.
They call them energy drinks.
If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is
Scam. noun. A confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.
This is a word that Marion Countians have heard a lot about in the past few years. And the problem appears to be one that is getting worse every day.
State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core
It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.
Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.
United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project
The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.
COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard
I love to talk to readers.
I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.
Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial
NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
- Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer
Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
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- If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is