The Energy Drink

In this project I will be looking into the marketing of Burn an energy drink, but what is an energy drink and what can they really do for you.?

They beckon from store shelves and counter tops in a wide range of colours, shapes and sizes: a burgeoning selection of nutrient-enriched drinks whose labels promise energy, power or growth.

Some come loaded with carbohydrates, some are packed with protein and others are laced with vitamins and even herbal extracts such as ginseng and ma huang. In some cases, the plethora of expensive new "smart drinks" on the market can be useful for athletes, children and people on the go, nutritionists say. But in many instances the drinks are of questionable value. And in no case should they be considered a regular replacement for a well-balanced diet, these scientists say.

"While they likely won't hurt you, they represent a trend that is disturbing to most nutritionists: substituting concoctions made of several relatively simple components for complex, 'real' foods," says Dale Brigham, a nutritionist at the University of Missouri at Cambridge.

How can the consumer begin to sort out the truth behind the flashy labels and eye-opening health claims of smart drinks?

It helps to know a little about the different kinds of drinks available, to read the nutrition facts label on each can and to understand the age-old reality of good nutrition -- there are no shortcuts.

The nutrient-enriched products range from better-known sport drinks like Gatorade and Red Bull to the less-common energy and power drinks like "Exceed," "Ripped Force" and "Burn" (which, by the way, is pink). They come in colours from clear to sea green to opaque purple, with prices from about 1 to more than 2 for a 250ml bottle.

As for taste, flavours range from smooth and sweet to bordering on the putrid.

Even Starbucks has entered the vitamin-enriched category with a blended, slushy coffee-flavoured drink called Frappucino. For an extra 50 pence, customers can "add power" -- a pack of additives that, depending on the size of the drink, contains 8 grams or more of protein and at least 25 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamins A, C, D and nine other nutrients. All this and the usual caffeine boost, too.

The more familiar sports drinks generally contain simple carbohydrates, water and a little sodium and potassium. You're not likely to morph into Arnold Schwarzenegger or Michael Jordan by drinking them, but nutritionists say they can help replace energy burned and water lost during an hour or more of rigorous exercise on the football pitch or during a long-distance swim, run or bike ride. They provide some readily available energy if consumed a few minutes before a workout.

"Yes, they provide energy," says Jackie Berning, a nutritionist at the Oxford University who works with several professional teams, including Chelsea and Bolton Wanders. "The question is, what kind of nutrients are they putting in there to get the energy?"

The carbohydrates in drinks such as Gatorade or Red Bull can be useful, for example, when a child goes straight to football practice after school. "To me, this is a supplement to provide you carbohydrates at a time when body energy is going down and there may not be anything available," Berning says.

Some energy drinks include additives such as zinc, chromium, phosphorous and iodine. Still others offer herbal extracts such as ginseng, guarana and ma huang. Experts question the benefits of such supplements and urge caution about consuming some of the herbal extracts. Some, like guarana and ma huang, contain stimulants of the central nervous system; in high doses, some of these herbal extracts have caused adverse reactions and even death.

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