Friday, August 13, 2010

Virgina Wants to Ban Energy Drinks

Yahoo News Article on a Virgina movement to Ban Energy drinks.

Burke ( Va. ) Lake Braddock football coach Jim Poythress said he could see it in his players' eyes as they approached him. They would be worn out, looking for help.

"They would say, 'I've got cotton mouth, I've got cotton mouth,'" Poythress said. "I'd look at them and say, 'Did you have one of those drinks.' And they'd say, 'Yeah, I had two.'"

Those drinks are energy drinks - products such as Red Bull, Amp, Full Throttle, Rockstar and Monster - all of which promise more energy, alertness and focus. Attributes that should help an athlete. But Poythress saw the opposite impact.

"They think if they drink it, they're going to be alert and play hard," he said. "It gives you an initial spike and then you're fatigued." For those reasons, Poythress banned his kids from using energy drinks a year ago. In the coming weeks, his state association - the Virginia High School League - will give out the same recommendation to its members for the upcoming school season.

Tom Dolan, an associate director with the VHSL who oversees the association's sports medicine group, said his group found energy drinks were doing more harm than good - giving athletes a false sense that they were getting the fluid they needed.

"With all the issues regarding the energy drinks, the caffeine level, (it's worrisome that) they are being used for fluid replacement and they are not that at all," Dolan said.

Sports drinks - fluids that help replace the electrolytes and carbohydrates a body needs during strenuous exercise - have been around since Gatorade was created by the University of Florida in 1965. Gatorade dominated what was a niche market for the next three decades. But around the turn of the century, it began facing an increase in competition from two sides: A growth in the number of sports drinks on the market and the emergence of energy drinks - products often based on caffeine that are intended to give you extra energy and alertness.

Red Bull, the market leader, began selling in the United States in 1997, according to the American Beverage Association. Last year, Red Bull sold nearly four billion cans of its product worldwide, the company said. The company did not make anyone available for an interview, but it did release statements about its product - one of which acknowledges the drink should not be used for hydration purposes.

"As Red Bull Energy Drink has not been formulated to deliver re-hydration, we encourage people who engage in sports also to drink lots of water during intense exercise." But the statements did say Red Bull - which has a lower caffeine level than many of its competitors - has been proven to be safe and to help athletic performance.

"Numerous scientific studies in the fields of sports medicine, internal medicine and psychology confirm the claims made for Red Bull. All scientific studies are peer-reviewed, published and can be found in public databases. These studies indicate that Red Bull produces a significant increase in both physical performance and cognitive functions."

MyAchingKnees comment: Signifcant increase,..maybe, but then comes the crash.

It went on to note: "Due to its ingredients - carbohydrates, taurine, Glucuronolactone, caffeine and vitamins - the consumption of Red Bull Energy Drink can make a significant contribution to the enhancement of performance in sports."

And, it must be noted, athletes have been seen drinking Red Bull at international events such as soccer and track and field.

Barbara Lewin is a noted sports nutritionist and the founder of in South Florida and a consultant for Olympic and professional athletes. She agrees with the VHSL recommendation. "I'm glad to hear there are more bans on this stuff," she said. "It is dangerous." Lewin isn't buying the arguments that energy drinks improve athletic performance. She said young athletes may think these drinks will rev them up and help them make the big play, but argues they will have the opposite impact.

"It's going to make you nervous, irrational, raise our heart rate, raise your blood pressure," she said. "You're not going to make good choices if you're taking in that much sugar, that much caffeine. And along with the highs that come are the lows. And the insomnia. And if there are any underlying health risks, these drinks can pose a greater risk from them, too."

It is uncertain if any other states have issued such a recommendation. Dolan said there wasn't one moment or incident that led the VHSL to take this stance, but that the group was concerned enough about the potential for heat-related issues to do so.

His committee will make a formal recommendation to the VHSL executive committee at its next meeting on Sept. 1. The executive committee is all but certain to approve by the end of that month. Dolan feels it's the right thing to do. "Athletes are looking to get a benefit and they are not," he said. "Any time they put a fluid in into their body, they think it's a fluid replacement and it's not. We felt this is one of those situations where we needed to step in and educate people that this is not a good thing to be doing."

There is a healthy energy drink on the market. It's called Rev 3, which is a healthy, cleaner, smarter and stronger energy drink. The below video was from the public opening of the the Rev 3 drink.

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  1. Energy drinks should not be banned such that they give energy to many persons and many persons are depending upon them.

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