I always knew that energy drinks weren't exactly health food, but even so, I was surprised when a federal report landed in my e-mail last month with a startling headline: The beverages were sending thousands of people to the hospital each year.
The drinks, some critics say, make it easy for young people to overdose on caffeine (yes, it really is possible to do that). Here's the story that came of the reporting.
While a lot of the emergency room visits come after people combine the drinks with booze or drugs, more than half ostensibly come from the consumption of energy drinks alone.
The beverage industry pooh-poohed the report, saying it didn't take into account the overall health of the people who landed in the hospital, and that most energy drinks contain less caffeine than coffee. Interestingly, though, a lot of young people I spoke with said they didn't care for the drinks or other caffeinated beverages. It will be interesting to see if today's teens will become caffeine teetotalers — or if they'll just find another delivery system.
-- John Keilman