Energy Drink Dumba$$es

By Jose Antonio PhD FISSN, FNSCA, CSCS.  There are some things that are just annoying.  Stepping on chewing gum.   Emails from Nigeria asking for $1,000 so they can transfer a $1,000,000 to your bank (Really?  What dope falls for this?).  Hitting every red light as you make your way home.  Celebrity confessions.  Having to actually watch a TV show with the commercials (thank god for TiVo!).  And reading the numbskull articles written by the mainstream press on pretty much all things related to sports nutrition.  Runner’s World, a magazine that I actually enjoy reading (yeah, don’t tell anyone), posted on their website an article entitled “Sports Nutrition Group Doubts Claims of Energy Drink Makers.”  I’m thinking; hey, I wonder who that group is.  Inquiring minds need to know.  And guess what, it’s the International Society of Sports Nutrition!  The ISSN is the leading academic society that studies sports nutrition and supplements and I’m the head honcho.  I’ll at least give Runner’s World credit for citing the Position Paper that we recently published.  But that’s pretty much where the credit ends.

The Runner’s World interpretation of our article is so wrong.  Why?  Because my colleagues and I wrote the dang thing.  I think we’d know BETTER than anyone what the correct interpretation is!  To wit:  Here’s the headline – “Sports Nutrition Group Doubts the Claims of Energy Drink Makers.”  Uh no.  In fact, if you read #3 of the Position Paper’s abstract it says the following:  “Consuming ED 10-60 minutes before exercise can improve mental focus, alertness, anaerobic performance, and/or endurance performance.”  That my friends is THE most important point.  The drinks work!  We can argue over the why and whether it’s the ingredients or combination thereof, but the bottom line is that as an ergogenic aid, the stuff will help you perform better.

And then we have the Dawn Report which states that the number of emergency room visits involving energy drinks has increased.  The implication is that energy drinks must be hurting thousands of people, right?  Well as they say in Alabama, shitfire Bubba, that ain’t no proof! Since when did emergency room visits become a substitute for scientific studies?  Did I miss something in my years of studying the frickin’ scientific method?  To fall for the moronic trap that sensational headlines are a substitute for honest-to-goodness critical thinking would be like judging a fish by its ability to climb trees.  As I tell my super-smart students at Nova Southeastern University in beautiful South Florida, read the data.  Read the science.  Whenever you see headlines such as this, instead of believing it hook, line and sinker, instead immerse yourself in the actual studies and decide for yourself.  Because one day you’ll write a scientific paper and then some journalist with about as much science training as your pet Beagle will tell you how it should be interpreted.  Ok enough of this.  Time to consume copious quantities of caffeine-filled java.

Reference: The 2013 International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: energy drinks