Fake energy is bad, but we can’t help it

Brenna McNamara

Hello, I am Brenna McNamara and I am an addict. I’m worn down and approaching my last nerve. I know the addiction has gone too far, but at times it is the only thing that gets me through the day. In fact, it is getting me through writing this column.

My favorite energy drink is Monster. Yesterday I got the mother load, two XXLs that look like each is made of three cans stacked on top of each other. I can’t even fit my hand around them. In all their alert and citrus glory, I have brainwashed my taste buds into thinking they are the only thing that can properly quench my thirst.

It has gone beyond just Monster in the recent months. Our campus doesn’t sell them, so I have further fueled my addiction by drinking Full Throttle and Rock Star, cheap imitators – but they have the energy I crave, so I’m satisfied. Caffeine is a suitable, not-so-hardcore substitute. But I initially started on the bottle (or can that is) because the bitter, hot java taste got old.

I used to be a tea girl. But frankly, tea is boring now that I have experienced the heart-pumping rush of energy drinks. I wish for the days when green tea satisfied me.

Yes, this addiction is no comparison to cocaine or crystal meth, but it serves as a basic example of the origin of addictions. Once a person is “up,” they know what it feels like and constantly want to be on that level.

Energy comes from anything that contains calories. I could eat some spaghetti and milk and be set for a study session (not to mention create a more balanced, healthy reserve of energy), but my mind tells me that I need some sort of caffeine to perform.

With college students always on the run and the new ability to formulate chemicals to help us move, it’s no wonder the energy drink market has increased 700 percent since 2000. Our generation is going to have a plague of heart problems. Fake energy is everywhere, making it hard to imagine cramming for an exam without energy drinks, Adderall or caffeine. There is such stress to be successful that any edge to get to the top is necessary. Now that we understand how much easier they make it, it is hard to turn around.

When I first heard of Red Bull as a child, my mother refused to buy me one because she was a nurse and knew their harmful effects on the heart. I compared these drinks to some sort of drug I would purchase under a bridge downtown. I had to lie to her to get me to the gas station. I hid it in the bag until I got home, chugged it down although I thought it was disgusting and tasted like liquid Smartees. But here I am, years later, blinded to the dangers that still exist because of how immensely popular and available they are.

This seems the perfect time to insert some sort of statement to the public about how not to become a victim of this industry, to stand up for your health and discipline! But the fact is, I will probably go have some caffeine in about a half an hour, so I’ll spare you the hypocrisy.

Brenna McNamara is a freshman prejournalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].