Pop Quiz: How Much Do You Really Know About Energy Drinks?

Student working hard on difficult math problem

When we spoke to Dr. Kelly Pritchett about the growing threat of energy drinks, she said the most frightening thing is the lack of education. “When I ask a group of high schoolers what’s in these drinks,” Dr. Pritchett said, “or how much caffeine is in them, they have no idea.”

Consider this, then, an opportunity to prove or (more likely) enlighten yourself. Pop quiz, hotshot: How much do you really know about energy drinks?

(Answers at the end.)

Fight Big Energy

(1) Which top college recently banned energy drinks from its campus, citing health hazards, sexual misconduct, and other problem behaviors?

a. Swarthmore

b. Middlebury

c. Claremont McKenna

(2) Mixing energy drinks and alcohol makes a person twice as likely to do what?

a. Be taken advantage of sexually

b. Take advantage of someone else sexually

c. Both

(3) Consumed before, during, or after exercise, energy drinks increase what?

a. Athletic performance

b. The risk of cardiac arrhythmia and heart attack

c. Both

(4) Why did Red Bull settle a $13 million class action lawsuit in 2014?

a. Because it doesn’t give you wings.

b. Because it was overpriced.

c. Because it’s disgusting.

(5) How much sugar is in a 24-ounce can of Monster?

a. 40mg

b. 60mg

c. 80mg

(6) How much caffeine is in a 24-ounce can of Monster?

a. 175mg

b. 240 mg

c. 350mg

(7) What is the maximum amount of caffeine a teenager should consume in a day?

a. 100mg

b. 200mg

c. 300mg

(8) Does the FDA regulate caffeine content in sodas or energy drinks?

a. Sodas

b. Energy drinks

c. Both

Hold Them Accountable

(9) Who decides whether to classify an energy drink as a beverage or dietary supplement?

a. The FDA

b. Energy drink companies

c. Retailers

(10) What is taurine?

a. Bull semen

b. An amino acid that is not on the FDA’s GRAS (generally recognized as safe) list

c. An amino acid that is on the FDA’s GRAS list

(11) What is guarana?

a. Bat excrement

b. A botanical extract proven to improve focus and fight heart disease

c. A South American plant with two-to-five times the caffeine of a coffee bean

(12) Thirteen-year-old Caitlin Fraser recently suffered stroke-like symptoms after consuming one-to-two energy drinks a day. Where did she get the drinks?

a. A school vending machine

b. An ice cream truck near her school

c. Her parents

(13) Which European country is considering banning the sale of energy drinks to children under 16?

a. Ireland

b. England

c. Germany

(14) An internal Monster Energy document from 2009 revealed what?

a. Monster’s target demographic includes nine-year-olds.

b. Monster conceals its products’ health risks.

c. Monster execs hate the taste of their drinks.

(15) How many energy drink-related hospital visits were there in 2011?

a. 1,000

b. 5,000

c. 20,000

(16) How much money did the energy drink industry generate in worldwide sales last year?

a. $10 billion

b. $20 billion

c. $50 billion

 

ANSWERS

(1) b. Middlebury College recently banned energy drinks from its campus, citing health hazards, sexual misconduct, and other problem behaviors.

(2) c. Mixing energy drinks and alcohol doubles the chance of sexual assault. It also greatly increases the risk someone will ride with a drunk driver or drive drunk him/herself.

(3) b. Consuming energy drinks before, during, or after exercise increases the risk of cardiac arrhythmia and heart attack.

(4) a. Red Bull settled a $13 million false advertising suit because it doesn’t give you wings or offer any other health benefits.

(5) c. A 24-ounce can of Monster contains 80mg of sugar—three times the recommended daily intake.

(6) b. A 24-ounce can of Monster contains 240mg of caffeine—the equivalent of seven 12-ounce Cokes.

(7) a. Teens should not consume more than 100mg of caffeine a day. (Ideally, they wouldn’t have any.)

(8) a. Incredibly, the FDA regulates caffeine content in sodas, but not energy drinks.

(9) b. The energy drink companies classify their own products. Monster was a “dietary supplement” until 2013.

(10) b. Taurine is an amino acid that is not on the FDA’s GRAS (generally recognized as safe) list due to a lack of research on its long-term effects.

(11) c. Guarana is a South American plant with two-to-five times the caffeine content of a coffee bean.

(12) b. Caitlin Fraser suffered a Hemiplegic Migraine after consuming energy drinks purchased from an ice cream truck parked near her school.

(13) a. Due to a recent report on the health risks for young people, Ireland is considering banning the sale of energy drinks to children under 16.

(14) a. An internal Monster document from 2009 revealed that the company targets children as young as nine years old in its marketing.

(15) c. There were 20,783 energy drink-related ER visits in 2011—more than twice as many as there were in 2007.

(16) c. The energy drink industry amassed $49.9 billion in global sales last year. That number is expected to hit $60 billion by 2021.