“Red Bull gives you wings.” It’s a sentiment that’s easy to believe if you’re a 14-year-old boy watching a corporate sponsored snowboarder do an impressive 180 off of a snow bank. Energy drinks like Red Bull sponsor everything from break-dancing shows to extreme sporting events; and because of its aggressive advertising campaigns, Red Bull has led the way for the energy drink market boom in America. While high-caffeine soft drinks have existed in the US since the 1980’s when Jolt Cola was introduced to the market, energy drinks have only been around for a little over ten years, having made their way here from Austria in the form of Red Bull. Since then, the market has exploded, earning Red Bull’s parent company billions of dollars and spurring the proliferation of new brands. As many as 500 new energy drink products were introduced in 2006, all fighting for the same demographic: males ages 13 to 24. Their marketing has been extremely successful, and more kids are drinking these caffeine packed beverages than ever before. But the health and science community is concerned about the potential affects these energy drinks will have in the long term.
I'm Emily Greenhalgh, a Boston-based science writer, editor, and illustrator.