It often happens that if something is shown to be of benefit, others jump on the band wagon to claim those benefits by association. Remember all the fuss over red wine’s health benefits? Resveratrol, the substance from grape seeds was studied. Pretty soon everyone started believing red wine was a health food. (It can be in moderation). This is the point that is often missed in many cases involving food and nutritional supplements.
In the case of energy drinks, the beverage industry is looking for anything that offers a ray of hope to stave off increased regulation. Consumers require some perspective when the conversation turns to regulation.
Nine out of ten poisoning deaths in the U.S. related to prescription drugs. In 2006, 275 adverse supplement reactions were reported. Of those 275 dietary supplements calls, 41% involved symptomatic exposures; and two-thirds were rated as probably or possibly related to supplement use. Eight adverse events required hospital admission. Sympathomimetic toxicity was most common, with caffeine products accounting for 47%.
So it’s not surprising that a small study showing that coffee may help perk up your blood vessels gets taken out of context and gets applied to an entire beverage category. After all, it’s caffeine and caffeine is good. Must be true that more caffeine is better.
It follows that products with caffeine or caffeine related substances would jump on the band wagon to tout the health benefits even if none exist. Coffee is a natural substance with complex phytonutrients. Those substances work synergistically in our bodies to deliver the benefits to human health. Just because a product formulation includes healthy individual ingredients, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the consumer is getting the same health benefits those substances were proven to have.