Flames of The Torch

Coca-Cola has been in the middle of a lot of controversy lately. From the alleged murders of Colombian union workers, to the various resignations of executive policymakers, the soft drink company has had its fair share of problems as of late. Coke has made some unwanted noise at St. John’s, too.

The soft-drink giant’s “family of energy drinks” has found its niche with the St. John’s University community, as droves of tired college students have feasted on the much-needed energy boosters.

But do the energy drinks really work?

University of Maryland professor Mark Kantor, a specialist in the department of family and consumer sciences and nutrition claims that the energy drinks are not all they’re cracked up to be.

“These drinks are marketing ploys,” Kantor said. “I’m not aware of any scientific data that they do what they say they’re going to do. They don’t give you more energy.”

Many students also doubt the effectiveness of the drinks.

When asked about her favorite energy drink, junior Maria Kishbaugh said, “I love Red Bull. I’m addicted. It’s absolutely wonderful.” However, when asked if the energy drink actually provided her with an extra boost she said, “Honestly, I think I make myself think that.”

While they may not work as advertised, drinks like Rockstar, Von Dutch, Tab, Vault, and Full Throttle are extremely marketable to St. John’s students.

The most worrying aspect of the Coca-Cola energy family is the negative side effects described by many nutritionists and scientists.

With numerous deaths attributed to the improper use of energy drinks, from mixing Red Bull with alcohol and using the highly caffeinated beverages before and during strenuous exercise, the health risks associated with the drinks are alarming.

Considering the dangers of using energy drinks, does the University have an obligation to protect its students from caffeine overdoses?

The question of accountability should not be pushed onto St. John’s administrators or Sodexho, their food service provider. It lies in the consumers, the students.

We cry for more freedom in the Residence Village and more choices in every facet of the University. Students deserve to be respected as adults, and while St. John’s must maintain a Vincentian code of ethics, the administration cannot and should not hold our hands through everything.

Like anything else, it is important to know what is going into your body and to be responsible with your consumption of any substance.

So now that we know the adverse side affects of downing energy drinks, it is our job to use them responsibly.