Video: Energy drinks: a safe jolt?

updated 8/23/2006 5:00:24 PM ET 2006-08-23T21:00:24

Energy drinks like Red Bull aren't just for athletes and all night party animals anymore. Increasingly, these beverages are being marketed to everyday men and women--even kids--promising to boost energy and help people manage stressful days.

One of the day's most emailed stories is about a new drink called "Celsius," which targets "time-deprived, sleep-deprived women." The drinks are popular, but are they good for you?

We asked Dr. Marc Siegel, Associate Professor of Medicine at NYU, and the author of "False Alarm: The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear."

'The Most': What are the biggest concerns about these drinks?

Dr. Marc Siegel: They are not regulated by the FDA. The active ingredients are not regulated, so we really don't know what we are putting into our bodies and in what amounts. The same is true for green tea, by the way.

'The Most': People drink these beverages to get a boost. Is that worse than drinking coffee?

Siegel: The concern is the caffeine level. Our society has a problem already with coffee drinkers, this drink is twice the amount of caffeine as in a cup of coffee. There's got to be a better way to get women in the workforce to stay awake and have energy than more chemicals. Also, I would advise drinkers of these products to see a physician first, especially if they have a history of underlying heart disease, stroke, etc.

'The Most': Are they bad for a diet?

Siegel: The sugar substitute Splenda (in Celsius and other energy drinks) has been approved by the FDA. My recommendation for consumption of artificial food products is--small doses. Again, there has to be a better way to stay awake than pumping chemicals into your system.


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