This has been one hell of a week for energy drinks. On Monday, the New York Times published an article citing five deaths reported to the FDA since 2009 all linked to Monster Energy drink. Tuesday Monster came out with an official statement saying that it would defend its products and that they "have always been safe."
The primary concern for consumers has centered around lack of adequate labeling of total caffeine content and potential health risks with these RTD beverages, and their popularity with adolescents and children.
In response to the confusion and to manufacturers' lack of action in changing their labels, Consumer Reports has just released a review of 27 popular and prominent products with complete caffeine content information.
Caffeine levels per serving ranged from about 6 milligrams to 242 milligrams per serving—and some containers have more than one serving. The highest level was in 5-hour Energy Extra Strength; the lowest in the seemingly oxymoronic 5-hour Energy Decaf. (The company says it’s for people who want to limit caffeine but still get a blend of nutrients that provides “an energy boost and a sustained feeling of alertness.”) By comparison, an 8-ounce cup of coffee has about 100 milligrams; a 16-ounce Starbucks Grande, 330 milligrams.