Are There Risks to Energy Drinks?

Are There Risks to Energy Drinks?
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Red Bull and Rockstar brand energy drinks are put to the test.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

The first energy drink dates back more than a half century: Dr. Enuf, launched in 1949. Now, there are more than 100 brands—an industry now selling $50 billion of the stuff a year. They’re popular on military bases, but some military leaders have questioned their safety, based on data like this: the skyrocketing number of energy drink-related emergency room visits over recent years. But, if you look at some of the reports, you see cases like this: 24-year-old guy who didn’t feel well after drinking a can of energy drink and three bottles of vodka.

Because energy drinks are often co-consumed with other substances, it’s hard to tease out the culprit. Same problem with population studies. Sure, “[a]dolescents drinking energy drinks are at risk of a wide range of negative outcomes,” but energy-drink consumers are also more likely to drink soda and have other unhealthy habits, are more likely to binge drink, take diet pills, and engage in other risky behaviors. So, the only way to tease out the energy drink component is…to put it to the test.

One of the concerns that has been raised by public health advocates in terms of potential negative effects is increased blood pressure. But have people chug a can of Red Bull and 30 minutes later, no significant change in blood pressure. Okay, but that was the little eight-ounce can. What about the 16-ounce big cans of Red Bull? Forty minutes later, no significant change there, either. So, concerns about energy drinks raising blood pressure were dismissed as overblown…until the bomb dropped in 2014.

Red Bull did indeed significantly raise blood pressure after all. The reason the earlier studies missed it is because the spike doesn’t start peaking until like an hour after consumption. So, if you just look at like 30 minutes after consumption, all seems fine. But the worst is yet to come. And, the big shocker was that cerebral blood flow velocity—blood flow in the brain—took a dive. Energy drinks are promoted as having “beneficial effects,” but this instead would suggest they’re “potentially harmful because of the extra cardiac work load and the decreased [brain] blood flow velocity…”

Researchers subsequently looked at other brands. Here’s Rockstar brand energy drink—significantly elevating blood pressure within just 30 minutes. Yeah, but wait a second. Is it just the caffeine? Is it any different than just drinking a cup of coffee? To figure that out, you’d have to compare the effects of an energy drink with just a plain drink with the exact same amount of caffeine. But there’s never been such a study…until now.

A “randomized, double-blind, controlled, crossover study” in which “young, healthy volunteers” were randomized to drink two large cans of an energy drink or a control drink that had the sugar and the same amount of caffeine, but none of the other “proprietary blend ingredients” like taurine, carnitine, ginseng, guarana, and all the other stuff they add.

And, it turns out it wasn’t just the caffeine: significantly higher blood pressure on the energy drink than the exact same amount of caffeine in the control group. What’s this higher “QT interval” thing, though? On an EKG, it’s the distance from the beginning of the downward Q wave to the end of the bump of the T wave. Okay, so who cares? “QT…prolongation,” which is what the energy drink did—but not the caffeine—”is a recognized marker of increased risk for [oh] fatal arrhythmias,” fatal heart rhythms. That doesn’t sound good. Okay, but by how much? “Prolongation of the QT…interval by more than 60 [milliseconds] is a marker for life-threatening arrhythmias.” And, the energy drink only prolonged it by about 10. But there have been drugs pulled from the market—profitable drugs, bringing in billions of dollars—because of a 5- to 10-millisecond prolongation. So, we really need to start investigating some of these other ingredients in energy drinks.

For example, in 2008, authorities found cocaine in Red Bull drinks. The Red Bull manufacturer “insisted,” however, that they were just adding the coca leaf for flavor, and that all the active cocaine was removed.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Simon Desmarais via Wikimedia Commons and Luke Freeman via flickr. Images have been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

The first energy drink dates back more than a half century: Dr. Enuf, launched in 1949. Now, there are more than 100 brands—an industry now selling $50 billion of the stuff a year. They’re popular on military bases, but some military leaders have questioned their safety, based on data like this: the skyrocketing number of energy drink-related emergency room visits over recent years. But, if you look at some of the reports, you see cases like this: 24-year-old guy who didn’t feel well after drinking a can of energy drink and three bottles of vodka.

Because energy drinks are often co-consumed with other substances, it’s hard to tease out the culprit. Same problem with population studies. Sure, “[a]dolescents drinking energy drinks are at risk of a wide range of negative outcomes,” but energy-drink consumers are also more likely to drink soda and have other unhealthy habits, are more likely to binge drink, take diet pills, and engage in other risky behaviors. So, the only way to tease out the energy drink component is…to put it to the test.

One of the concerns that has been raised by public health advocates in terms of potential negative effects is increased blood pressure. But have people chug a can of Red Bull and 30 minutes later, no significant change in blood pressure. Okay, but that was the little eight-ounce can. What about the 16-ounce big cans of Red Bull? Forty minutes later, no significant change there, either. So, concerns about energy drinks raising blood pressure were dismissed as overblown…until the bomb dropped in 2014.

Red Bull did indeed significantly raise blood pressure after all. The reason the earlier studies missed it is because the spike doesn’t start peaking until like an hour after consumption. So, if you just look at like 30 minutes after consumption, all seems fine. But the worst is yet to come. And, the big shocker was that cerebral blood flow velocity—blood flow in the brain—took a dive. Energy drinks are promoted as having “beneficial effects,” but this instead would suggest they’re “potentially harmful because of the extra cardiac work load and the decreased [brain] blood flow velocity…”

Researchers subsequently looked at other brands. Here’s Rockstar brand energy drink—significantly elevating blood pressure within just 30 minutes. Yeah, but wait a second. Is it just the caffeine? Is it any different than just drinking a cup of coffee? To figure that out, you’d have to compare the effects of an energy drink with just a plain drink with the exact same amount of caffeine. But there’s never been such a study…until now.

A “randomized, double-blind, controlled, crossover study” in which “young, healthy volunteers” were randomized to drink two large cans of an energy drink or a control drink that had the sugar and the same amount of caffeine, but none of the other “proprietary blend ingredients” like taurine, carnitine, ginseng, guarana, and all the other stuff they add.

And, it turns out it wasn’t just the caffeine: significantly higher blood pressure on the energy drink than the exact same amount of caffeine in the control group. What’s this higher “QT interval” thing, though? On an EKG, it’s the distance from the beginning of the downward Q wave to the end of the bump of the T wave. Okay, so who cares? “QT…prolongation,” which is what the energy drink did—but not the caffeine—”is a recognized marker of increased risk for [oh] fatal arrhythmias,” fatal heart rhythms. That doesn’t sound good. Okay, but by how much? “Prolongation of the QT…interval by more than 60 [milliseconds] is a marker for life-threatening arrhythmias.” And, the energy drink only prolonged it by about 10. But there have been drugs pulled from the market—profitable drugs, bringing in billions of dollars—because of a 5- to 10-millisecond prolongation. So, we really need to start investigating some of these other ingredients in energy drinks.

For example, in 2008, authorities found cocaine in Red Bull drinks. The Red Bull manufacturer “insisted,” however, that they were just adding the coca leaf for flavor, and that all the active cocaine was removed.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Simon Desmarais via Wikimedia Commons and Luke Freeman via flickr. Images have been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Doctor's Note

Stay tuned for my next video Are There Benefits of Energy Drinks?.

What about coconut water? Here you go: Coconut Water for Athletic Performance vs. Sports Drinks

If energy drinks are risky, what about the original energy drink, coffee? See:

Anything we can consume that improve blood pressure? Check out:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

98 responses to “Are There Risks to Energy Drinks?

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  1. Thanks for this eye opening report on energy drinks, Dr. Greger. As a monthly contributor, I actually have a question about something else, however. It’s about the latest studies that show that too much supplemental Vitamin B12 might be harmful. Have you revised your position on this as a result of new information? Thank you.

        1. Scott? Are you the same Scott who posted a bread recipe using zucchini, organic corn meal and cannellini beans? Welcome back, if so! :-)

          I personally don’t give a rat’s ass concerning Vit. B12, as I regularly have a small bit of animal foods in my diet. Yeah, I know….I’m baaaaaaad!

          But back to the topic caffeine (which should make Reality Bites — who, it sounds to me, badly needs a laxative — semi-happy), I recently read that coffee might prevent rosacea. All these crazy studies!

          https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/new-research-finds-drinking-coffee-may-prevent-rosacea-1.4140939

          1. I did, YR. And yes, I am indeed that Scott. I really appreciate your welcome back!

            I was trying to go incognito with the Kent. Since I was going off topic in the first place, it sure didn’t seem like a good time to also try to explain my absence from this great community. But then when I responded to the replies directly from my email notifications, it somehow knew that I am really Scott when it posted. Scary! We’ll have to see who it thinks I am this time!

            I’m going to keep the explanation vague because for one thing, I certainly can’t expect my friends here to solve my problems. Let’s just say that I had a serious financial crisis and it had a really scary domino effect. The good news is that thanks to family coming to my aid the best they could, it now looks like I’m going to survive it. My family members were definitely my heroes and I am humbly grateful.

            Gladly, my monthly contribution to NF didn’t go to the wayside, but I will confess that it’s only a very modest amount—probably not nearly enough to have any influence on getting an answer from the NF team! I definitely appreciate those who did respond to my question, however.

            Sincere thanks to you and the others here (like Deb and Tom) who expressed care and concern for me. And by the way, if I got yelled at for hijacking the discussion before, I can only imagine what this exercise in personal drama might elicit. I’m gonna brace for fireworks:)

            1. Hi Scott…..sorry to hear about your $$ woes. It seems most of us get hit with a huge biggie or three before we exit the earth plane.

              As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” May your journey become easier as the days go by! :-)

        2. Hi Scott

          Yes, there was also some kerfuffle last year about a study which found that male smokers who supplemented with B6 and/or B12 having higher rates of lung cancer. There was however no elevated risk in non-smokers of either sex or in female smokers. Although the study was (part) funded by the US National Institutes of Health, the NIH advice regarding B12 appears unchanged

          “The IOM did not establish a UL for vitamin B12 because of its low potential for toxicity. In Dietary Reference Intakes: Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline, the IOM states that “no adverse effects have been associated with excess vitamin B12 intake from food and supplements in healthy individuals” [5].

          Findings from intervention trials support these conclusions. In the NORVIT and HOPE 2 trials, vitamin B12 supplementation (in combination with folic acid and vitamin B6) did not cause any serious adverse events when administered at doses of 0.4 mg for 40 months (NORVIT trial) and 1.0 mg for 5 years (HOPE 2 trial) [65,66].”
          https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/

      1. It also would be helpful if people asked relevant questions to the article instead of wanting free off topic advice. B12 was discussed multiple times, go find those videos to post under.

        1. Reality bites, stop TROLLING the website, now that would be REALLY helpful. Thanks. Please learn about what this site is for, Dr. Greger WANTS people to ask questions and learn, he’s here to help, that’s what he dedicates his life to. You’ve had this explained to you and you’re perfectly capable of reading the comments etiquette .

    1. As an alleged regular contributor why did you not ask your B 12 question on any of the many B-12 video comment boards instead of yanking the discussion about energy drinks immediately another direction seeking free off topic health advice?

      1. First of all, I didn’t expect such hostility. Dr. Greger suggested that contributors post their questions on the comments section of one of the videos. He did not specify which one. Maybe I am wrong, but it seemed wise to choose the latest one. I will add that you are only furthering what you are calling “yanking of the discussion” by complaining about it. I will also add that protocol in these discussions has long seemed to me to be that it is okay to initiate off-topic discussions. Finally, I’ll say that the topic I have introduced is one that is very likely to be of keen interest to most everyone on a WFPB diet. The science seems to be changing some expert opinions and it would be helpful to know Dr. Greger’s latest thoughts about it. Have a nice day.

        1. Scott, I had the impression Reality was directing his grouchy comment to Kent, not you. But your response was a good one, nevertheless.

          It seems all of Reality’s posts are complaints about people getting “free off-topic advice.”

        2. To add to Joshua’s comment, this study appears based upon a initial one done on 2500 people in relation to fractures, of 2-3 year duration, and then I guess, going from there.

          Which means it is interesting but far from a study designed to examine the issue itself, in the initial.
          There are a few precautions on extreme over consumption of B-12, but it is in the category of rare result, not common. It pretty much appears safe.

          Studies may show outlying result at any time and we cannot make to much of any singular one, if others are present showing contrary finding. I always use climate change for example. We have at least 40,000 studies affirming in some manner the human caused nature of climate change. There are also 400 or so to the inverse. So we focus on concensus for study, not outliers. IN areas like this…sports drinks we may have only one study to focus on, there just are not that many, so we depend on this for conclusion.

          B-12 it appears safe. We cannot make to much of one study when many others find no harm. Folic acid as mentioned, has strict limit dose and is just was different than B-12.
          Even this sports drink issue here…we just cannot take one study in general and run with it. More study in this specific is required to find out the agents responsible. Was this the diet or regular sports drinks is the first thing that I find coming to mind. What specific in the sports drink was the responsible agent… one by content is way different than the others. They vary considerably.

          1. One group I can think of probably more than any other who take B-12 supplements..since about 2000 when the science became available and it became widely available through internet and such….probably vegans.
            Any vegan who has been doing it for a year or more, knows now of the necessity of B-12. Junk food vegans usually only last a year or two at it.
            So by population probably more vegans than any other take it.
            Are they more suffering cancer…seems not.
            That falls under the personal observation category so we may take it with a grain of salt..but it appears so.

            Like the cancer with microwave oven thing….are we all now suffering cancers probably related to that thing we all use and so often…probably not.
            Personal observations we may make which seems true, are occasionally not, but more often are.
            Those taking B-12 cancer…nah.
            Pesticides and cancer….yeah probably so.

            1. “Like the cancer with microwave oven thing….are we all now suffering cancers probably related to that thing we all use and so often:
              — – – – – –

              Not all of us, NM ron. I’ve never owned a microwave oven.

              1. I didn’t use a microwave for quite a few years as the question was out there unanswered. But now much time has passed and nothing points that way by population and some, in a restaurant perhaps food preparers, use them generously and daily.

                So now I do. I made a response to the presenting conditions. They are just way convient. I don’t wish I used it earlier as the questions were out there, but now I like very much being able to use them.
                I first could have used a microwave for food in 1970 one of the first. But I waited till the 90’s The non microwave thing was pushed by the macrobiotic crowd as a cause of cancer very strongly. When I found one of their lead proponants who came down with and died of cancer was when I actually bought one and used it regularly(with precautions) .

                  1. Cell phones and the potential of damage is clearly there, and present in study. Microwave oven studies fail to find any damage, so they utilize things of similiarity and then draw conclusions on them from that….and it basically does not translate for various and sundry reasons which researchers have expounded upon in opinion..
                    And we can find utilization precautions in WHO literature. Certainly California would have recognized hazard if there was one and there is not.

                    So good for you…have at it ;) Apparently you have time and may enjoy cooking.
                    My personal use is about 25% I’d guess. Time wise it really helps. I would probably eat far more junky things like sports nutrition bars if I did not use one.

                    1. Yes, ron I luuuuuuv to cook! After my husband died (he hated to eat out in restaurants & claimed he liked my cooking instead; I always suspected he thought the cooks in the kitchen spit on his order, or something), people assumed I wouldn’t get out the pots and pans anymore.

                      On the contrary, preparing a meal is a great way to concentrate, keeps the ol’ brain muscles going and all that. Very Zen, doncha know! I always look forward to it.

        3. “Maybe I am wrong, but it seemed wise to choose the latest one.”
          – – – – —

          It makes total sense, Scott. Rarely do people post anything on those older videos, especially something pertaining to new data or studies on a product. They’re aware that very few, if any, will even read their comment.

          (Am thinking cranky Reality hasn’t sat his/her behind on “the throne” for at least two weeks.)

      2. Questions don’t always get answered under old videos, it’s often rare that they do. No one needs to explain anything to this troll though. Reality bites, you are not a site moderator, clearly you have too much time on your hands that you feel the need to come here and pretend to be one.

    2. On the subject of B12, I really would like to know more as well and feel like there isn’t enough info. Like for example, the cyano B12 isn’t healthy or may not be healthy for smokers I’ve just learned, so should they take the methyl? And why isn’t it or might it not be a good choice for smokers? What about the fact that the methyl and adenosylcobalamin are the two types of B12 actually found in nature (based on what I’ve recently been learning, so if what I’ve been reading is correct that is to say), what about supplementing with these two combined forms? A lot of the cyano versions aren’t vegan and/or contain harmful filler ingredients. What are not only safer and more natural brands but what brands can actually be TRUSTED that we’re actually getting any or the amounts listed? I know brands aren’t typically recommended on nutritionfacts but I think in the case of B12, which is so important, it would be a well deserved exception to give some examples of good brands. Or even what to look for in a brand and what fillers to avoid and what not to worry about. That would be INCREDIBLY helpful.
      I’d like a video that shows the research on the different types of B12 so we can get a better understanding and make up our own minds based on the research even if Dr. Greger continues to recommend supplementing with cyano B12.
      And what about the claims about people getting acne from supplementing with cyano B12? Or what about how in some countries, you can only find methyl supplements, do those countries have symptoms of B12 deficiency? Have those statistics ever been gathered?… I doubt it, but would be interesting to know.
      Oh, and he says if you take a multivitamin with B12 that there may be metals that deactivate the B12 so you need to also supplement with B12 alone, this leads me to question whether or not B12 should be taken separately from food considering the minerals in food? Or does this occur only if the supplement is “wrapped” in with the other metals? And so what about fortified foods such as fortified nutritional yeast, which also has minerals such as copper, etc., is the B12 inactive in those foods?
      I’d also be curious about natural sources of B12. Dried purple nori is said in one pubmed article to contain B12 and be the best plant food for B12. According to cronometer, mushrooms contain some amount of B12. I realize these would give you unreliable and inadequate amounts of B12 but I would be interested to know more about naturally occurring B12 in certain plant foods simply because I like the idea of getting extra trace amounts, naturally.

      Lastly, I’m really curious to try this supplement, the company seems good and they use both of the natural forms of B12 combined, methyl and adenosylcobalamin. I wonder if anyone has heard of or tried it? … https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/vegansafe-b-12.html?gclid=CjwKCAjwmJbeBRBCEiwAAY4VVfKH7CYZwJP02uQFG0OtsyxyoKv2aQAtX8CARKnmxzDvzeSLV7J_zRoC5SoQAvD_BwE

      1. To build off my above post with my slew of B12 questions, I sort of developed a suspicion… To me it makes sense that methyl and adeno B12 would be healthiest if it’s true that these are the forms we would naturally consume in nature via soil or whatever else. Cyano is produced in a lab and while it’s very effective, it makes sense to me that research would focus on the man-made version of B12 because when things are produced in labs, they tend to be more profitable to specific groups. Now I have no idea if I’m totally off here, but just sharing my recent thoughts, they’re not set in stone, just me wondering and thinking.

        1. B-12 Is one of the cheapest things one could buy as to supplements. They recommend cyano as they used that in the studies and they have to recommend what they know works, not what they think may work or even work better. It comes to litigation. A person in theory dies and the doc recommends this as opposed to that….it may have a not a thing to do..but they have to recommend specifically on a known cause. I really think of one thing so little profit is made off this it probably has unbiased study behind it.

          Why did they use that form in study..likely as it was so cheap and available.
          How best to take B-12 sublingual, they are almost as cheap as regular. I would never take B-12 in pill form, so many things may affect its absorption and our ability to absorb overall of things in isolation may deteriorate with age. No study..just makes sense, think of it. If you don’t get it in under the mouth worst case you swallow it in the spit…where does it go then..in the gut, same place a pill ends up.
          Peoples with overt deficiencies take the shots always. It goes around all that. And I think in some countries they can be self administered by shot.
          Don’t take cyano if you have some other exposure like cigarette smoke to cyanide I think it is. It degrades into a minute form of that, not harmful but only with a compound source can then become.

          1. Thanks for the insight on cyano B12 and smokers.

            Apparently in Germany it’s hard to find cyano and it’s a lot more expensive. Regardless of profit, which it’s true that B12 is cheap and a good point, studies do tend to mostly veer towards what is produced in a lab first and foremost and natural forms of things aren’t always looked into. Skin care is a good example of this. So it does, in my opinion, seem to have an innate bias not necessarily one out of agenda.

  2. I love the plausible deniability for the cocaine in red bull drinks. As a (mostly) reformed energy drink consumer, I can vouch that red bull is one of the more addictive of the bunch. I guess now I know why!

    1. Yes, I can only imagine how carefully they do that removing the addictive substance, which might spike their sales.

      “Oops, Maybe we didn’t get rid of quite all of it.”

  3. The ultimate cynical business model: Sell us something that purports to give us energy, meanwhile giving us something that depletes us, compelling us to seek yet more illusory stimulation. So happy to be off that exhausting treadmill!

  4. How I wish that Dr. Greger would point out the risks for all of the products that he discusses. For instance in his last blog on turmeric he discussed only its virtues and failed to point out the risks for people with digestive issues or those taking blood thinners and aspirin. While I appreciate the information he provides I feel it can be dangerous to assume that the benefits discussed are safe for everyone.

      1. Also I am merely suggesting that there be included any risks or caveats to the suggested benefits of foods and supplement studies. No reason to be caustic or to SHOUT.

    1. hi Lida, you might find this page helpful.. it has the beginning of a list of herbs to watch out for, and additional resources linked there. https://www.oncologynutrition.org/erfc/hot-topics/herbs-blood-clotting/ I read the literature that my pharmacist provides with each new prescription. Warnings about conflicts with foods and medications are often mentioned. We really have to take responsibility for what we are consuming, and assume nothing! (I dont assume my doctor is right either.. I check everything.) When researching herbs I personally found very few that dont have risks of some kind, especially bleeding. Camomile was ok. I see Dr Greger’s videos as invitations to “check it out” – and I do.

          1. Lida,

            I agree with you. We tell people to take responsibility, but the internet is so filled with disinformation and the doctors all disagree and the studies go back and forth – even in this one – one study where it didn’t affect blood pressure, then, a few years later it did turn out to affect blood pressure, but how easy is it to think that you did the research on something and find out later that you missed such a big piece of information. Right now, after having spent a year of researching and listening day and night it could seem reasonable to think that people can follow this, but Dr. Greger has 19 researchers trying to keep up on it, so it just plain isn’t likely that a person who isn’t a doctor or maybe who didn’t study science or who doesn’t have hours of free time because they are working and trying to raise a family or are too sick or elderly and aren’t good with modern technology can succeed at following it. “Take responsibility” is a way of us hiding the fact that it is currently probably impossible to take responsibility, even if you are doing this as an all-consuming passion. You are likely to have a doctor who doesn’t have a research team and doesn’t have fifteen minutes for lunch.

            1. I want to replace “take responsibility” with something else in our modern jargon.

              Try telling an autistic young person “take responsibility for your condition” or how about a Cancer patient or someone trying to lose weight. Have you Googled anything or tried to look any subject at all up on PubMed?

              We have a rabid money-grabbing “expert” system and an equally rabid money-grabbing “anti-expert” system and an equally rabid money grabbing “con artist” system and a totally confused, over-communicating, opinionated, public involved in the biggest telephone game ever invented called the internet.

              1. I forgot the government and media adding into the confusion. Yep, go ahead and take responsibility and I already know you will end up like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz and will suddenly be understanding the saying, “Toto, I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore.”

                  1. Nope, I think Dr. Oz has to be the Wizard of Oz.

                    Which represents the theme of people going to celebrity doctors pretty well.

                    So we see our own sense of powerlessness and say “If I only had a brain” and Dr. Oz comes on and does a somewhat contrived performance and we are sure if we could only talk with him, he could solve everything.

                    And that gets unmasked as an illusion in the end.

                    But somehow we have to get home and out of the land with all of the lollipops and somehow we get over into the WFPB section and they say the same thing our mother said, “Eat your vegetables.” The end

                    1. My Great grandmother would have laughed her head off that I would be spending hours and hours per day trying to take responsibility when she just sat at her table and ate the vegetables from her garden laughing with her friends and family and never took any responsibility at all.

                      And if she was alive I would come and tell her ten thousand scientific sentences and she would be peeling her orange and listening because she was good at listening and I would be taking responsibility left and taking responsibility right and she would be handing me an apple or some carrots and I would tell her that I havd turned a new leaf about turning new leaves and I am taking responsibility for taking responsibility from now on and she is the one who would get the joke and offer me some honey and I wouldn’t know whether I could eat it.

                    2. And I would come over to her house confused after having clicked ten thousand hours of research all telling me to eat my vegetables, but I missed that part because of all of the science and she would say that she has been looking at the flowers and puttering around the garden and would say, “What is that which is so fascinating on that little screen of yours?” But that would be my grandmother becsuse my great grandmother was blind and I would say that I sm taking responsibility for my health and they would emotionally support me in my learning and would tell me that is so important but they would never do any of it and would live into their nineties laughing their heads off more like Winnie the Pooh.

                    3. And my grandmother and great grandmother would offer an apple and say silly sayings like an apple a day keeps the doctor away and beans, beans they’re good for your heart and they really believed all these simple sayings and some of us were Tweens and grabbed the cookies.

                    4. And we are like the people sent into an alternate reality where Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum and Dumber product and supplement and Big Pharma and Big Food Industry stand at the crossroads to every road less traveled and someday I shall say to them, “No, you have not complicated it enough yet!”

                    5. I know that I wrote a long analogy.

                      I am trying to expose the reality.

                      90% of doctors don’t understand the statistics in their own field, and we expect the lay person who never went to medical school and who may not have taken science and who might not have time to sit around all night long looking things up and who may genuinely be sick to “take responsibility” and the doctors don’t agree and there is the whole more likely to die if you go to a doctor than avoid them phenomenon and killer supplements and the diet wars. Those of you who have been following for years or decades may not even know how confusing it is and how genuinely impossible it is for people to take responsibility when they don’t understand any of it at all. Some people pull out links of test sites and I am surrounded by older people who don’t even know how to use Google and telling them to take responsibility is the wrong logic. Young children don’t take responsibility. If you went up in a plane, the pilot wouldn’t give you responsibility for the plane. Yes, we have no choice but to take responsibility, but what happens is that when people rub that in people’s faces, people get intimidated and stop asking questions and start just doing a solo process on the internet. This site should be one where people could come and ask questions and bring up topics. There is always the older sibling, upperclassman phenomenon, where people take advantage of the 5 step head start and begin to feel superior. Inwardly, they don’t process that other people might know nothing at all. Millions of people DO know nothing at all. Many doctors don’t know anything at all about nutrition or about the studies and they don’t have time to look it all up.

                    6. I feel like there needs to be an “emergency exit” from the internet sources of information.

                      When people start to get so confused about diet that they shut down and can’t function, a link to push, which resets them to something simpler.

                      Something, which tells them: If all of this starts to confuse you, then stop doing it. Here is a list of healthy foods. Eat these. Organic when possible.

                      Come back if you have any questions.

                      Have a nice life.

                    7. Don’t get me wrong, people have responsibility whether they understand anything at all about anything at all.

                      But sending people out to take responsibility before you explain anything at all to them or lead them to someone who can teach them is what I find irresponsible.

                    8. The thing is, we do that line to not have a corporate responsibility.

                      We send people to doctors and those doctors most likely will kill them faster.

                      But we don’t have accountability and we don’t have a sense of “it takes a village” or any bigger responsibilities for the vulnerable people in our communities, and by we, I don’t mean me.

      1. Barb, I agree that we have to take responsibility but if pharmacists can include those contraindications with prescription meds why can’t Dr. Greger’s blogs and videos do the same?

        1. Well the devil may be in the details. Prescription meds are subject to strict guidelines in study such as lethal limit dose, to prevent liability and as provided by law.
          Supplements by law are not. And what is in supplements herbs whatever, may not be as advertised. So it is very difficult perhaps to display hazards without some basis to go on in study or science.
          There is generally existant risk to any supplementation nowadays. Any government oversite basically disbanded by law(senator Orin Hatch) in the nineties. It is a self govern area with only liability as protector. So we cannot really say any herb or thing may be as advertised and safe.

          Some are not generally, and I think Dr Greger highlights these on occasion when related to subject matter. Everything may be terminal dependent upon dose. Water is most conspicuous in that. A pound of turmeric a day…will kill one for sure by my read…..a 1/4 teaspoon…well no.

          Allergic to turmeric a 1/4 teaspoon may kill…should that be necessarily noted..I’d say probably not it is not warrented by risk.

        2. Lida,

          He can’t because he is doing short videos. Even people who are doing hour long videos don’t mention all the contraindications. It is not practical, but I do agree that it is helpful when he covers the warnings. Dr’s notes might be where a warning could be. But there are so many conditions that it would be seriously a long doctor’s notes section and people might not read it.

        3. Prescription medication is prescribed specifically for us by our doctor who understands our combination of health issuesand the medications/supplements/herbs that we are taking. The pharmacist then runs our prescription through the system to deliver us info packages with specific warnings for us. That’s as individual and specific as it gets. Dr Greger has million(s) of viewers and his videos I believe are intended to reach the broadest audience possible on topics of nutrition.

          I am not on warfarin, but if I was I would hand my doctor a copy of Dr Greger’s Daily Dozen and say ” this is what I’m eating, let’s adjust my medications accordingly” . This is the same advice Dr Esselstyn gives his patients regarding his program.

        4. I think that the situation is different. The information on NutritionFacts is not individualised medical advice nor is it prescribing medicines. The site is offering public health information about nutrition and related topics.

          Government dietary guidelines don’t tell us to eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains but then advise us that a minority of people might be allergic to such foods. Nor do they tell us to be careful about drinking water because a tiny minority of people are allergic to water. Ditto for government exercise guidelines.

          Foods, herbs and spices are generally regarded as safe. So is exercise. It is really up to doctors and others prescribing medicines, and treating patients with specific conditions, to tell us what foods etc to avoid or restrict to avoid interactions with the medications. Not the other way around.

          That’s my tuppence worth, anyway.

    2. Lida, the information isn’t meant to coincide with all types of pharmaceutical uses. When someone is taking prescriptions, they’re normally told if there are certain foods they should avoid. To address all the different medications and how they might interact with natural foods would be a topic in and of itself. The foods are generally safe for everyone, but disease can change someone’s needs. e.g. a diabetic. Dr. Greger does have a couple videos on individuals with certain health concerns needing to moderate or avoid certain foods such as nutritional yeast or limit turmeric if you’re someone who is prone to kidney stones, for example, which he deduced to no more than a half a teaspoon a day (if memory serves… also it may have been a teaspoon).
      If you get really nitpick-y, you could argue that not one single food is safe for “everyone” because anyone could have an allergy to just about anything. I actually react badly to the otherwise very healthy psyllium husk, just a rare allergy on my part.

      It could be an interesting and helpful video to address the issue of blood thinners and other medications paired with a WFPBD, there might have been one for all I know. I would guess there isn’t a lot of insight on this though because when it comes to pharmaceuticals, studies are typically aimed at promotion of the drug, not ways to lesson its use or get off of them.

        1. “Oh to the days when “blue” was one of my favorite flavors…”
          – – – – –

          I think I know what you mean, S. And I too reminisce. :-).

        2. S, when I was a kid, my favorite flavor of ice cream was called Blue Moon. It was definitely blue, which is why I liked it. Lord only what was in it. I wouldn’t eat it today for anything. And I can’t believe my parents let me eat it. But back then, who knew!

          1. Haha, that was my favorite too!! My second favorite was “superman” ice cream with a plethora of god knows what making up all those bright colors and whatever agents made them somehow not all blend into one. Dear god… Yes, me either. I wouldn’t eat that stuff if you paid me, even if they came out with a vegan version.

  5. Red bull is indeed the worst of the worst, but there is so much variability in this speciality market, it just seems not readily able to be productive of conclusive finding in common study.

    This is not like coffee is coffee is coffee. I can think of a twenty or so by brand name alone and some of them do not even have caffeine.
    Red Bull….suspected this, but just checked…..they are now marketing a organic sort without artificial ingredients. Which is but one kind they market that has already about 10 others with variance in it, within their one brand.
    The first basis I would guess would be sugar or not. But really this is not amenable to study as the field has so many players in it and such variance and new products hitting the streets every day.

    The content by content study on negatives found within each one may be more productive of negative finding to my opinion.Caffeine levels certainly above limits are terminal. These other things…. who knows really. Some of the herbs aminos, they on occasion put anything in them, may produce untoward results especially in combination.

    It is certainly buyer beware.
    Red bull is certainly the most popular but ingredient wise….it is pure garbage.

    1. I have taken red bull about three times in my life. Invariably it was on a long long drive in the American southwest boring tedius and same old same old. It became a question of…I have to be where I am going but I am about to die by falling asleep or crashing. So nothing else at gas stop…3 or so times that was it.
      Pure garbage and a risk to health, but at least I did not crash and die. So die or red bull..red bull. In other than that as choice it is little recommended.

      1. Ron,

        I have done those late nights traveling long distance drives.

        There is one spot in Texas where there is a sign: Last stop for 80 miles or something like that and when you reach that spot at 2 in the morning, your tired brain calculates whether you can stay awake and not have to pee for that long. Brains are not always that smart when it comes to acceptable risk.

        So you start doing the dance of trying to keep your eyes open: you open the window and slap the side of your face and turn the radio volume up and start singing loud enough that you keep yourself from spacing out and wish you had one of those ridiculously neon colored bad for you energy drinks.

        College all-night studying was another time and I know that some of you didn’t have a dormitory, which partied half the week or you were smart enough to go to the library every night. Some of us were influenced too much by the Sixties in the first place.

        1. Yes, I grew up and somehow didn’t get killed in a car accident. Maybe because there are so few cars on the road in the middle of the night and little bumps to wake you up. And, no, I do not do things like that now and have not for decades.

          1. Well good Deb I am glad for that.
            Circumstances vary however and for some of us that circumstance may be a necessity.
            It is rare for me. I’d say ten years or so was when I last had a red bull. I will take some of the other sport type drinks on occasion.

            V-8 is garbage, but relatively benign garbage, like eating a veggie cookie bad, by my read. So I use that most commonly when I need to for some reason, mostly I just use coffee. V-8 diet…. so no sugar with caffeine. No they do not have animal products in it….that was a internet rumor dispelled by the company. Vitamins in it are probably of the synthetic variety derivitive, not healthy, but oh well.
            Sometimes you do what you have to do…I have eaten more than several taco bell bean burritos over the years also. Not healthful but OK.

            1. Ron,

              My 8-year-old pal drinks one of the new-fangled V-8 drinks, which is not so new-fangled because my brother told me tonight that they discontinued it, but he can still get it at Walmart for now.

              THAT is the closest thing to fruit and vegetables she eats,

              When I was younger, and dieting, I would drink V-8 and liked it well enough, but eventually, there would be a never touched V-8 container in the back of the fridge. It happened every time. The thing is, it might be Vegan junk food, but if I had never had it, I probably wouldn’t be collecting the vegetables to have my own this week and I have been doing that. It is a familiar way to up my veggies.

              I bought ingredients for a V-6 and a sprig of celery makes 7 and I also bought the ingredients for my fruit and green smoothies and I began pondering that I found a Golden Milk recipe with cardamom. It has taken me a month to go from thinking about these things to actually buying the ingredients. I had to buy a new juicer because I gave mine to my friend who has Cancer. I gave it thinking that I wouldn’t juice anymore because I like the fiber, but I am not eating a wide variety of fruits or vegetables and stopped even eating my sweet potatoes and I need to have something better than just eating my wraps. I saw that they have pomegranate seeds in the freezer section now and all types of berries and all sorts of things and I purchased some, but still need to pull out my blender and new juicer and put them on the counter or I will not go through with it. Executive functioning problems.

              Anyway, tonight, before reading your comment, I was thanking the Lord that I used to drink V-8 and enjoyed it and was praying for grace to actually go through with the process.

              1. Deb that V8 what I drink on occasion, is a sports drink. It is no sugar V8 with caffeine in it.
                It is not your regular V8 nor would one drink it for anything healthy. As a carrier for caffeine it works pretty well, about halfway between a cup of coffee and black tea. It is marketed as V8 energy. I use the diet form to knock out the sugar part.

                That is not at all comparable to a thing like red bull which is overtly bad for you. This type of V8 is slightly bad by my read like a piece of junk food vegan desert perhaps, in that line. I would not use the stuff if only for sleepiness. If I have to do something and stay awake as opposed to a nap or something and as very sleepy for some cause or other.

                The idea of being worried about one single thing in a diet is fine for purists or those with significant health problems which they have to recover from or maintain. I am vegan for ethical reasons. I eat healthy vegan WFPB mostly but don’t sweat the little stuff. Which by my read is why I stay vegan and most to my observation do not over time. For every vegan of ten years time I can count probably a 100 who went into it and left it. Usually talking very firmly till they change about how we must be very strict in this thing.
                So diet V8 energy…..once in a while…who cares? Animal in it or not is my concern.

                Red bull, no, that stuff is bad for you of the very sort. Content wise it sucks. There is much variance in this sport drink thing which is why I contend we cannot really study it so specifically.

                1. Ron,

                  I have vomited every time I ate animal products since right about the Rodney King incident.

                  I went from eating meat 3 meals per day to 7 weeks of vomiting every time I ate it to never wanting it again. It didn’t require ANY willpower AT ALL.

                  I didn’t choose vegetarian, it chose me.

                  I kept the milk and eggs and cheese until January 2018 and genuinely LIKE not having them.

                  I rarely even use the fake cheese or fake milk products of any kind.

                  I did in the beginning, but I ended up in a pattern of foods, which didn’t require it and haven’t used them since about March or so and we are in October. I did have pizza a few times, but I started just taking the cheese off and that worked and my friends and family and I can eat together. It has the white flour and I am vulnerable to that, but not to the cheese anymore.

                  For me, Vegan is a stop on the path to WFPB, if I make it there.

                  It is a looooooooong process, but I am not worried about whether I make it there or not.

                  I am a little worried that I am feeling cravings for sweets again. But I have my smoothie ingredients and my juicing ingredients and I will ponder Golden Milk and I think nutrition is what really helps me and going too far into a starch direction really shipwrecked me. It was a good idea to have fiber, but now I am going to try having more fruit and vegetables again. I don’t eat them unless they come in a comfort package.

  6. While I’ve never tasted “sports drinks,” and never thought that I was missing anything by my disinterest, I would add that the mention of cocaine found in one of them, doesn’t surprise me. If you travel to Peru and are lucky enough to find yourself in the beautiful city of Cusco, your hotel will probably have a fresh urn of coca tea for its guests to drink, as they like. If, at 11,200 ft, you’re twice as high as mile-high Denver, most people become more clear-headed after drinking it. And there didn’t seem to be anyone idle in town; everybody worked and crime was not a problem. The world is large.

    1. I am laughing.

      I clicked on the link without highlighting first and ended up scrolling down and seeing hyperrealistic nipple tattoos for Cancer survivors and thought, “Which of these articles, and breast-focused articles is YeahRight wanting me to read. So it was Chicken Breast. Funny that they link all of the Breast articles together.

    1. How can they still get away selling Green Tea Supplements?

      I am horrified that they don’t take them off the market!

      The fact that both the dog and human Green Tea Supplement / Cancer studies the Green Tea group had more Cancer and died earlier.

      14 dogs died before they closed down the dog study, but Geez Louise what will it take to get rid of them?

    2. Ok I agree in that I would never take green tea supplements and any supplements are questionable as they are rarely vetted completely for content and such.
      A news report based on observational analysis had 800 tested and found contaminants in bunches of them. And why would you take the stuff by capsule when you can drink it and cheaper to boot.

      But the article mentions 80 cases world wide. Yeah I know significant for the 80… but world wide with no time line means 80 ever.
      Ever notice how news comes up with these shock headlines about once a week….BIG NEWS….if you have this crease in your forehead you may die of cancer in days…you may be dead upon reading this right now!!!
      This week I am finding one of some grossly distorted foot, for some reason..you will die of heart attack if your foot looks like this I suppose. I will die of shock if my foot looked like that I am saying to myself….
      . I guess it is media hype to sell the news to make it interesting.

      No offense but by read the risk of the 80 world wide with no time line is considering there are 7 billion of us, and likely millions of those supplements sold each year by capsule….not the same risk as me getting hit by lightening, but getting hit by lightening while I am playing the flute, on a sunny day.
      But do agree supplement of green tea by capsule…. hummm? Makes no sense about ever.

      1. Just my druthers from Wikipedia…”Import of radioactive Japanese tea
        On 17 June 2011, at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, France, radioactive cesium of 1,038 becquerels per kilogram was measured in tea leaves imported from Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan as a result of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster on 11 March, which was more than twice the restricted amount in the European Union of 500 becquerels per kilogram. The government of France announced that they rejected the leaves, which totaled 162 kilograms (357 lb).[34]
        In response, the governor of Shizuoka Prefecture, Heita Kawakatsu, stated: “there is absolutely no problem when they [people] drink them because it will be diluted to about 10 becquerels per kilogram when they steep them even if the leaves have 1,000 becquerels per kilogram;” a statement backed by tests done in Shizuoka.[35] Japanese Minister for Consumer Affairs and Food Safety Renhō stated on 3 June 2011 that “there are cases in which aracha [whole leaves of Japanese green tea] are sold as furikake [condiments sprinkled on rice] and so on and they are eaten as they are, therefore we think that it is important to inspect tea leaves including aracha from the viewpoint of consumers’ safety.”[36]
        In 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration updated its import status on Japanese products deemed to be contaminated by radionuclides, indicating that tea from the Ibaraki prefecture had been removed from the list by the Government of Japan in 2015.[37] ”

        Have some training in radiology but not a whole bunch. half life of these type things to my dim recollection is not four or seven years. Suppose they decontaminated all those soils in that period of time…hmmm
        Was anyone in America even told of this?

        Choose your poison I guess….China green tea despite the potential of lead and this and that sounds a lot more inviting right about now. What a world we live in?….

          1. I would not worry….. realistically what are the chances. But I was really looking at green tea from china or japan, and a optional choice…I guess China. Japan is more expensive anyway. Sri Lanka would be best, but that stuff is way expensive if you want green.
            You can’t worry to much about any of this stuff really, everything is contaminated to a degree, WFPB and mostly you are protected.

    3. Yikes, the guy’s eyes looked pretty gruesome all right!

      I was interested in this sentence: “”My dad had a heart attack at aged 59 and he did not make it,” says Jim.”

      Mine was 58, close to 59 when he died of a massive heart attack. He was a heavy smoker of unfiltered Camels and his daily diet (thanks to my mom) was very SAD, to say the least. He also had rheumatic heart disease when he was a kid.

      Also…some woo-woo here….he was experiencing his Second Saturn Return (which happens when we’re 58-59). So it all caught up with him. :-(

  7. Great video!Also, these drinks can have negative effects on people with anxiety disorders as they can accentuate their symptoms. Anxiety is manifested not only by fear but also by a general state of agitation. And this agitation can be greatly amplified by these substances that cause increasing of blood pressure and it can even result in a panic attack that is all the more serious. So it is good to avoid consuming these energy drinks not only for our physical health but also for our psychic balance.

      1. Me neither, YR, on both accounts. I’ve never even smoked a cigarette. When I was a little kid, I was stuck in an air conditioned car (couldn’t put the windows down) for over 3 hours with a chain smoking aunt & a chain cigar smoking uncle. Thought I was gonna die. I was green by the time we got to our destination. But it’s probably why I never even tried smoking.

        1. Nancy, am sure you’re a lot younger than I am, but when I used to work in NYC offices, smoking *choke choke* was allowed. Somebody would light a “coffin nail” every five seconds or so. I had to quit jobs with terrific benefits because of the miserable air quality around me — could barely breathe. Nobody cared about the effects of second-hand smoke, or so it seemed. :-(

          http://fortune.com/2014/10/23/smoking-office/

          1. I was one of those that lit up in offices and others’ homes without thinking much about whether it bothered anyone or affected their health. I obviously bought into the societal norms of the day that told us that this behavior was acceptable. It was of course even easier to believe that while under the grips of such an addictive habit. Thankfully, I was able to end that addiction about 20 years ago. I realize now how self-centered my behavior was and I certainly regret it. I regret that every bit as much as I regret the probable damage I did to myself. Those who never smoked tobacco have my utmost respect.

            1. Scott, I hear it’s one of the most difficult…if not THE…addiction to give up. Whenever my husband lit up I’d have to go to another room. During his later days, he’d take a puff or two of a ciggie and then cut off its end. He’d then use the same ciggie for another go-around, and claim that he’d cut down to 5 or 6. Eventually he did have to give them up completely (I mean, beFORE he died!).

              It’s great that you were able to givethem up, Scott. Supposedly, formerly smokers are even more aware and intolerant of second-hand smoke than nonsmokers. We well remember the ads that showed what “doctors” prescribe as a good ciggie. Heck, just shows you that they certainly didn/t/don’t have all the answers. I’ve seen plenty of docs and nurses puffing away outside of hospitals, for instance. Good lord, and the price for a carton has gone waaaay up…doesn’t stop the addicts, though. They find the $$ somehow or another

              https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/tobacco-and-cancer/is-any-type-of-smoking-safe.html

  8. Happy Wisdom Day Dr. Greger!!

    We call it ‘Wisdom Day’ because the hope is that we are not only celebrating being one year older on our Birthday, but also one year wiser!

    Have a wonderful, happy and healthy ‘Daily Dozen’ day … and many more to come!

    Cheers,

    Jessica

    P.S. I just made a donation in your honor.

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