Energy Drinks Linked to Deaths - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Energy Drinks Linked to Deaths

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By Lisa Martone

DES MOINES -- Energy drinks are now at the center of a federal investigation after reports of 13 deaths and 33 hospitalizations linked to 5-Hour Energy.

"I was in Kum and Go and this guy that was by the windows said, ‘have you been hearing what is going on? People have been dying, you shouldn't be drinking those,' and I was like 'alright,'" said Shawn June of Des Moines.

This report comes after another energy drink, Monster Energy, was linked to five deaths last month.

We sat down with a physician to find out if he believes these drinks could be harmful. The short answer...yes.

"Everything in moderation," said Ed Piasecki, of Urbandale Family Physicians. "You need water to drink but it can also drown you. The same thing with pop, if you drink a lot of it can make your heart race, it can make you anxious. People have had issues with depression and anxiety and it is simply because they are consuming too much caffeine."

Two ounces of 5-Hour Energy equals about two cups of coffee. Physicians say that's the problem, not the drink itself, but the amount of caffeine and sugar in the drinks.

"You used to see them come in with palpitations, chest pain, feeling anxious, feeling like they are going to die, doesn't seem like it is worth it," Piasecki said.

However some physicians say, having these drinks once in a while usually won't do any harm. But it's best to consult your personal doctor.

There has been no proven link to the deaths in these cases. The company said Thursday its compact product contains about as much caffeine as a leading premium coffee.

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