Our energy drink craze

Rachel Power

While energy drinks can definitely give us the kick that we need to get through the working day, whether it’s an eight hour shift or a tough assignment.

They have been around on the shelves of shops for years, but in recent years their popularity is growing rapidly with brands like Monster creating a huge variety of different flavours. So why exactly are they as popular as a morning coffee or a cup of tea nowadays?

The first known energy drink was called Glucozade, and was made in 1927 by William Owen, a chemist in the UK. Originally, he had made the drink to provide energy to people suffering from the flu and was offered to hospitals as a medicine of sorts. It wasn’t until two years later when the name became something we all now recognise on a daily basis as Lucozade. 

Wall Street Insanity reported that between 2008 and 2012, the energy drink market grew by 60 percent, and generated an estimated $12.5 billion in the United States.

Within the last 24 months, Monster have peaked in popularity as they continue to release different flavours. The original Monster, produced in a pure black can with the electric green claw logo on the front held a fizzy, apple taste but the brand has developed a variety of flavours from peach to coconut.

Sally Dobie, a student in DCU says that she first began drinking energy drinks in secondary school around the age of 13. The long commute led her to a shop where she spent most of her pocket money on them

“Energy drinks were kind of a tiny rebellion for me I think, because I wouldn’t dare drink or smoke as a kid.”

“I think in moderation they’re just like coffee or any other caffeine drink. But they definitely shouldn’t be consumed too much,” she said.

As with most things in life, energy drinks are a double-edged sword with both benefits and risks involved in their consumption. 

The biggest health risk posed by energy drinks is cardiac arrest. Everyone’s caffeine intake is different and reactions vary, so the amount of energy drinks you can handle could be different to that of a friend. 

A 2019 study by Journal of the American Heart Association found that after drinking 500ml  of an energy drink within an hour, the heart rhythm changed and blood pressure increased significantly.

However, they give us a rush of energy from the caffeine in them as well as giving us vitamins like vitamin B which is an ingredient in a majority of the drinks.

They’re cheaper than most coffees and they can be far more convenient to get as most shops supply them. They also contain a lower calorie count compared to our coffee or tea, which increase in their amount of calories once we add in milk and sugar.

One thing is for certain about energy drinks: they’ll continue to remain popular among certain demographics, such as college students who often rely on the hit of caffeine to get through to day.

Rachel Power

Image Credit: Roisin Maguire