How Does It Feel To Drink 14 Cans Of Soda?

Monster Healthy

May 10, 2012   37 Comments

Snack Girl recently got a question about Monster Rehab and she got excited. Rehab? Maybe Monster has become healthier.

Alas, Monster's "Rehab" is not about healthier. Here is a quote from the can:

We need a new drink. One that can do it all: a triple threat that quenches thirst, hydrates like a sports drink, and brings you back after a hard day's night.

We do NEED a new drink - one that discloses the amount of caffeine in every can of this stuff. A 13 year old with a common heart defect recently died after drinking two Monster Energy drinks which is the caffeine equivalent of 14 cans of soda. See her story here: Today Health.

After my first post on Monster, I wrote to both of my U.S. senators asking for help. Since the U.S. government regulates the amount of caffeine in soda, could we get some legislation enacted to regulate the amount in energy drinks? To my surprise, I received a phone call from junior senator's Scott Brown's office telling me that I needed to contact the FDA.

First of all, it was nice to get a call. John Kerry's office didn't even e-mail me back! But, the FDA just told me that they don't regulate caffeine in dietary supplements. Ahem. So, whose job is it to ensure that we have information and regulation about what is in these drinks? How many teenagers with heart defects have to die of a caffeine overdose before a serious warning goes on the side of this can?

Monster Rehab is actually a bit better than regular Monster because it is sugar free. But, it tastes like the drink that Iron Man has to suck on to get power for his radioactive chip. Monster Rehab tastes AWFUL.

Two years ago before I wrote about Monster (see: Monster), I actually drank a 12oz Monster and then a 20oz Mountain Dew because I heard that teenagers were mixing these drinks to get a high - multiple times a day. I can tell you from personal experience that my heart started racing and I felt ill.

Since I am 42, I do drink coffee every morning to wake up. But the high temperature of that coffee slows down my intake, and after two cups, I know to stop. Teenagers guzzling cold energy drinks don't slow down their consumption.

My advice is to talk to your teens about these energy drinks just like you talk to them about alcohol and sex. They need information about what this stuff can do to their systems. Here are some good talking points:

  • You can destroy your teeth. A pediatric hygienist told me that she had a kid with over 15 areas of decay on his teeth from drinking these drinks. The parents had a $6000 dentist bill given to them (they lacked dental insurance).
  • You can get Type II diabetes. You are pouring sugar into your system and your body will not be able to keep up. Any time you drink a large amount of sugar you are putting yourself at risk for Type II diabetes and a shortening of your life.
  • You can gain weight. Where is all that sugar going to go? To your waist. If you want to fit in that prom dress or tuxedo, drink WATER!

What do you think of "energy" drinks marketed to kids?"


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37 Comments:

Just found this useful site: http://www.energyfiend.com/the-caffeine-database

You can even sort by caffeine content.

Looks like the poor kid must have been drinking Monster Hitman Sniper at 240mg of caffeine per can. So sad.

I used to drink low carb Monster once or twice a day. One night, during a movie marathon, I drank two in a row. Yeah, I was up pretty much all night.

on May 10, 2012

"Monster Rehab is actually a bit better than regular Monster because it is sugar free." Seriously? a) it does have glucose, which is sugar, and b) splenda and ace-K are NOT an improvement - http://healthimpactnews.com/2012/why-aspartame-is-far-worse… (sucralose is near the bottom) (wish I could find yesterday's dr. weil video where he goes into ace-k as well, but I can't right now. meh.). The caffiene is probably far worse in that big a dose, but....

on May 10, 2012

Great post! I never drank energy drinks, however I just discovered Starbucks Raspberry Pomegranate energy drink. 60 calories for one can and is made with green coffee. The ingredients are things I know too!

on May 10, 2012

I feel for you on these things. Back when I was younger I would guzzle a few energy drinks when I needed to spend an entire night writing a paper. I finally stopped the night my heart started racing so fast I thought I was going to die. I switched back to coffee, stopped pulling all nighters (...mostly...), and never touched the stuff again. To be honest, it doesn't even taste very good, but I think a teenager will drink anything fizzy, sour, and kind of sweet. Plus, the advertising on that stuff is amazing.

on May 10, 2012

Advertising for crap like this really does make most teens/young adults feel the "need" to eat or drink these kind of things. I was victim to them as well.....ignorance is NOT bliss! Great post and blog, thanks!

on May 10, 2012

Yuck! So glad I don't drink these things...

on May 10, 2012

Great post! Very informative and good for you for making calls. This is an important issue. And you're right, because they are cold drinks, its very easy to over consume. I hope they do start putting a warning on these cans. 1 death is too much.

on May 10, 2012

Though I never drank Monster or Red Bull, I remember drinking lots of energy drinks and Mountain Dew in high school and my freshman year of college...until my irregular heartbeat got so bad that IT was keeping me awake at night. I learned soon after that there is no substitute for energy like 1) getting enough sleep 2) exercising 3) drinking plenty of water and 4) eating well. And that's how I lost 40lbs my sophomore year ;)

on May 10, 2012

Great post, on an important subject!

A recent Pediatrics Journal article reviewed the literature and looked at 121 scientific studies, government reports and media sources on energy drinks. The authors warn that energy drinks are under studied, overused and can be dangerous for vulnerable kids and teens.

As you stated, energy drinks escape FDA regulation by belonging to the Wild West category of dietary supplements. Dietary supplements require no testing, warning labels or restrictions. This leads to the absurd reality in which soda, with a moderate caffeine content, has to list caffeine content, over-the-counter caffeine medications such as No-Doz must carry warnings, adverse effects label and have a minimum age for purchase (12 years), yet energy drinks with as much as 400 mg of caffeine per container aren’t regulated at all.

The whole notion that energy comes from a can is false and silly. I agree with you about the need to talk energy drinks with our kids.

on May 10, 2012

I've tried a few energy drinks and they all taste downright nasty... and all I got out of it was a caffeine high and a sugar rush! If I want that I can have coffee and a couple cookies (which is healthier than the energy drink anyway).

They're also so dangerous since they don't list the caffeine content. As little as 2 grams at a time can put you in the hospital... 10 grams has the potential to KILL you. And these kids will drink energy drinks and take caffeine pills with them... chew caffeinated gum... eat caffeinated candy and snacks...

on May 10, 2012

Never tried them, and never gonna try them, great job on getting the word out about how bad they are for everyone, its sad that people have to get hurt, and even die, before companies try to change anything, and in this case the companies still don't change a thing.

on May 10, 2012

Advocare has some great Energy drink alternatives. Full of great vitamins and minerals. The best selling is Spark has 120 of caffeine (https://www.advocare.com/02078717/Store/ItemDetail.aspx?ite…) however, there are some other energy drinks without any caffeine at all like V-16(https://www.advocare.com/02078717/Store/ItemDetail.asp….

on May 10, 2012

Does anyone remember Jolt cola? That's what we drank as kids for lots of caffeine.

on May 10, 2012

Hi Snack Girl!

Great post, we whole heartedly support this message as well and are working to make this a healthier, better world. Have you ever tried Steaz? Check us out! All natural, organic and fair trade green tea based iced tea, sparkling (good soda alternative) AND an energy drink!

Let us know if we can work together on something, great post!

- Steaz

on May 10, 2012

I don't drink coffee or black tea, so I know I would not be able to handle the amount of caffeine in this drink. Terrible about that girl.

Why don't they regulate the amount of caffeine in drinks but not diet supplements?

on May 10, 2012

Uggh, I really need to read before submitting. I meant to say: why do they regulate the amount of caffeine in drinks but not diet supplements?

on May 10, 2012

Thank you so much for your relevant and timely post! Those drinks are scary! Just the other day I saw what looked like a pre-teen drinking a huge can of Monster. So scary!

on May 10, 2012

Ugh I have to admit when I was in college a few times when I had to pull allnighters for project id drink this stuff. For college dorms a cold drink in a can is a lot easier than to go out at 3am to try to find a coffee shop that's still open. But the two times I drank this on empty stomach at 3 or 4 in the morning my heart started to race so hard I thought I was gonna die. Felt completely nauseas. Thankfully my natural self preservation instinct killed any desire to continue consuming that poison. I have never in my life wanted to drink that again. I find it ridiculous that the fda doesnt think its harmful enough to at least warrant a requirement to list caffeine content ugh

on May 10, 2012

I also tried one of these energy drinks when I was pulling an all-nighter to finish my thesis. I sipped the can over the course of the night, didn't even finish it and my heart was racing and I was super jittery all through the morning. I felt terrible but it got the job done. That was my first and last encounter with energy drinks.

on May 11, 2012

I'm about to graduate college, but I can tell you that these sorts of energy drinks were ubiquitous on campus for the last 4 years. I don't know how people can stomach them. I'm a coffee drinker, as a few people have mentioned, but the kind of jolt you get from an energy drink is WORLD's away from the "gentle" awakening from a cup of Joe. Kudos to you for trying to get to the bottom of the caffeine regulation mess.

on May 11, 2012

I've been off caffeine since 2000 when I was diagnosed wit a "life changing" disease. My Doctor said not to "beat myself over the head" about it, but felt it wasn't needed, just the same, I quit! Haven't missed it too much. It is disturbing that even decaf coffee has some caffeine, but I do my best.

on May 12, 2012

I love monster rehab. It tastes like lemon sweet tea! Almost like the KFC tea... Anyway, and it is wonderful for "morning afters" as it states... Any monster is great for that. But the rehab one does hydrate you like water or gatorade... Monster and bc powder is my go to... It cures anything lol

on May 12, 2012

Here in Belgium (and in the rest of Europe I guess) they tell you on the can how much caffeine the drink has. I just took an 250 ml can 8.45 fl oz) out of my fridge to check and it says (in Dutch and French, so excuse me if I don't translate it right): "Energy drink = high caffeine content (32 mg/100ml) (so for you guys: that's 0.001128 oz/3.38 fl oz or 0.00033372 oz/1 fl oz). Not recommended for children, pregnant women and people who are sensitive to caffeine. Drink with moderation." So you can easily see how much you caffeine you get from it and there is a warning. I must that say I don't understand why a 14 year old with a heart disease would be drinking these, or anything with caffeine, especially such a large drink (Monster only comes in 0.5 liter cans here...).

Personally, Energy drinks mixed with vodka are my favorite drink when I go out, besides water. I will also sometimes drink them when I study late at night, but never to a point that my heart started to race or that I feel weird. The only times I had that was from drinking to much coffee.

on May 17, 2012

It's interesting to me to try and search for real health facts and get things like this, your opinion and slanted information against the drink. On the can it says not for children or people sensitive to caffeine, as well as saying no more than 3 per day and not within 4 hours of another can. The amount of sugar and caffeine in these drinks is common knowledge (just like the effects of smoking, and you can still see it happen around a middle school).

I'm 20, the effects of "high" caffeine are temporary, and I'm really good about knowing what my limit is, if I get caffeine headaches, I lay off for a few weeks, I don't have more than 2 per day, which is rare in and of itself, unless I needed to work through the night, which counts well beyond being a single day. I like the way it tastes, I'm in the military and my physical (which is much more thorough than a civilian cough and nose inspection) returned that I'm perfectly healthy. I'm responsible, and you're trying to make it impossible for me to get a drink that I like, because some people abuse it.

The effects of caffeine are hardly long term unless you do too much very fast. You don't gain weight (I exercise and eat right, if exercising and eating right nulls the "weight gain" effect, then there is no effect, stop blaming everything else)

If you don't like the drink that's fine, if you think it's terrible then don't drink it, but I think it's just pathetic and rude to blame the drink for an individual's mistakes in using it, then do all you can to make it impossible for responsible users to get it.

I don't want to live in a nanny state where the government decides what I can and cannot do, and you're trying to push it that direction. For every kid with a heart problem who chugs a monster into his grave, there are thousands who use it perfectly fine without any adverse effects.

My uncle used to drink 2 liters of soda a day, he developed liver complications for it, should we then ban soda? I've seen some fat people at McDonald's, should we ban that too? Ban rails because skate boarders hurt themselves?

Personal responsibility exists, even if you don't think it does.

on August 31, 2012

Caffine affects people based on body weight. a 100 pound kid shouldn't drink a whole can of monster or anything.

And btw, the average cup of instant coffee has about 7/10 the mg of caffeine per ounce of monster rehab. Starbucks-esque freshly made coffee has about the same mg/ounce content, around 10mg/fl oz. Starbucks' double shot blows monster products out the window too. Just an fyi if your serious about limiting caffeine intake. also look up the website energyfiend- it has all this info

on September 7, 2012

This is not right. I've been drinking monsters and redbulls for years. I have between 3 - 4 daily. It gives me just enough to keep working. But if your a teen and drinking these it isn't good at all the body is still developing and they can cause damage. But if u have heart problems u shouldn't be drinking these anyways. So if parents are letting there kids drink them maybe the blame should point to them. My teen isn't aloud to have them. Also if your drink a monster 15.5oz remember its 2 servings. You should know your own body at what it can handle.

on October 5, 2012

First off the can has a warning on the side that says only consume 3 per day and 4 hours apart. I'm willing to bet that the 13 year old drank 2 back to back. Also it says not recommended for !!!!CHILDREN!!!! (Which is what a 13 year old is), people who are sensitive to caffeine, pregnant women or women who are nursing. No with monster rehab the majority of the ingredients are tea extract and vitamins. It only has 10 calories and 3 carbohydrates which is your sugar and comes from the tea that is in the drink.I do agree they should tell you the caffeine count. But saying that a drink is bad because some parents didn't regulate what there kid was drinking and apparently didn't teach them to read is wrong. Yes the regular monsters aren't the healthiest drinks but don't write an article about a version of the drink then blast it because of its version that has more sugar and read before you post.

on January 24, 2013

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on August 5, 2013

The whole death via caffeine thing is a little hard to grasp, at least for me. No main stream energy drink is going to have more than 200mg (of caffeine) per can w/o a significantly more vibrant warning label. FDA suggests that you don't intake more than 400mg of caffeine a day. Now, define a common cardiovascular defect. Myocardial infarction is pretty common, yet doesn't play a part in it's severity. An adolescent with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (that more often then not goes unnoticed until adulthood) would most likely experience the side effects of caffeine intoxication before they just keeled over dead. For instance, a close friend and colleague of mine became addicted to high dose stimulants, drank 5 redbull a day, and smoked more than the Marlboro man. This went on for 5 years. He was hospitalized at 24, died, and was brought back. Now healthy as can be. The moral of my rambling is, you can't just take away, or "regulate" a product just because some kid wanted to be cool and house a couple monsters in front of their friends not knowing they have a catatonic heart disease. I'd chalk it up to Darwinism.

on August 8, 2013

What about kombucha, people?Fermented...caffeinated...bubbley... Oh yeah and it's healthy! Or coconut water...natural sugars...electrolytes...good stuff. Let nature fuel your body.

on December 4, 2013

people should be able to enjoy their energy drinks without the FDA limiting the amount if caffine in their favorite energy drinks, personally monster rehab is my favorite drink and it would suck if they downgraded the amount of caffine. If you don't like the amount of caffine in energy drinks don't limit other people just don't let your kids drink them and don't drink them yourself

on February 15, 2014

Knowing what goes into your body is the golden rule. People tend to over react to sugar when it is a very important part of our being. I have eaten sugar my entire life I am 37 years old and now have my first cavity. Everything is about balance moderation and most importantly activity.
If you don't move you don't need extra energy so lay off the sugar a little but our bodies have a way of protecting themselves. It will hope one day you will move and just in case you do it will. Build a little storage reserve. Everyone's body is different education is power. Great post!

on June 9, 2014

Actually these drinks do tell you exactly how much caffeine is in them. Its only the consumers fault for not listening to the label that says "consume responsibly" and the people dying from this drink arent being responsible. Caffeine really isnt good for you no matter what its in...pop, coffee, energy drinks whatever. People need to start being smarter. If they purchase the drink and know what it is they are drinking that whose fault is it really?

on April 20, 2015

Seeing the comment "these drinks are scary" is ridiculous. No, whats scary is people arent paying attention to how much theyre drinking or not eating anything before drinking, or not caring that their 13 yr old with heart problems is guzzling a couple cans of monster. If you dont like energy drinks or the way they make you feel then dont buy em. Dont ruin it for people who can enjoy them RESPONSIBLY ;)

on April 20, 2015

How many responsible parents actually know exactly what their kids drink when they are not @ home. Mine lived on Mountain Dew which was drank because of the caffeine, a legal "upper!" Any person who drinks these "drinks" are doing so to get unnatural energy w/ little concern of it's health detractors! Remember the expression...we raise them well & then step back & "hope & pray!!!!"

on April 22, 2015

I'm sorry but I stopped at the first few sentences of this article. You contacted a senator? Please! Let's get the government to create more regulation because that's all we really need...right?! We don't need more regulation...we just need the rest of Americans to get off their asses and go to work.

on September 18, 2015

Someone with a heart deffect shouldn't be drinking one in the first place. Don't really see how it's relevent on a review.

on April 25, 2016


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