I read a few media stories today about how Health Canada is reviewing expert recommendations to possibly label so-called energy drinks like Red Bull and Rock Star as "stimulant drug containing". The recommendations go a lot further than a label though, suggesting that energy drinks become the purview of pharmacies only.
Might not be a bad business model for pharmacies, these drinks are very popular. Of course you would have to install beverage coolers in all pharmacies, maybe freezers too. Why freezers? Because coffee flavored ice-cream has about the same amount of caffeine as Red Bull (Red Bull 80mg, coffee flavored ice-cream 70mg).
What about extra large coffee's available at Starbucks, Tim Hortons, and 7-11 that have over 200mg of caffeine? Would all coffee shops require a "watchful pharmacist" to make sure caffeinated beverages are dispensed the way Health Canada says they should?
There is a growing social trend, especially amongst the younger crowds, to down energy drinks to get a buzz, overcome tiredness, increase athletic performance, and most contentiously, to enhance or negate the effects of alcohol.
Health minister Leona Aglukkaq hasn't said whether she will follow the advice of the panel. Making Red Bull only available at pharmacies is way over the top. Too nanny-state for me.
Personally I don't have any love for these energy drinks or any positive health or performance claims associated with them. I think it's a stretch to suggest these drinks provide energy or significant increases in cognition or sports performance. You'll get more results from a good night's sleep and regular exercise. Caffeine can't replace or reverse the effects of sleep deprivation, but can temporarily make you feel like it does.
Caffeine and booze: Caffeine does not make you drive better when drunk:
Energy drink did nothing for sprint performance in woman