While I prefer to get my energy from coffee or tea, many people around me ingest a more modern form of power in the different kinds of energy drinks out there in the world. While I have never understood the hype, many of the freebies I gained during my first few weeks at university included the high-energy drinks, meant to get students through late nights. This is not a new thing and is now ingrained in many stereotypes of students. Though I personally do not understand the appeal, I do wonder how they became what they are.
The energy drink is a fairly recent thing to be invented in the grand scheme of things. Introduced first in Japan after the end of the second world war, energy drinks were initially marketed as herbal energy tonics, sold in small glass bottles. They were initially marketed towards people who worked long hours such as warehouse workers and truck drivers, who need to remain awake for extended periods. One brand of such a drink was called Lipovitan, which smelled like cough syrup but was promoted as a drink for people. Its primary ingredient is taurine, while stronger versions of the drink had varying ingredients. Lipovitan D
contains 1000mg of taurine as well as nicotinic acid and vitamins B1, B2, and B6 as well as caffeine. Lipovitan D Super contains 2000mg and 300mg of arginine, an amino acid that plays a function in the regulation of hormones and blood pressure when naturally occurring within the body.
The next big energy drink that stepped into the market was Krating Daeng, which had taurine as one of its primary ingredients as well as B-vitamins. Drinks such as this gained popularity in the Asian market and especially amongst executives in the 1980s. An Austrian businessman discovered these drinks and by 1984, Dietrich Mateschiz had partnered with the producers of Krating Daeng to help spread the product to a global market, simply because he had become amazed by the drinks when had found them in Bangkok. The name of the drink was changed to Red Bull and revolutionalized the global market. When Red Bull was introduced to the US in 1997, it gave birth to the modern energy drink market, the way we know it today. Although these drinks share many similarities with fizzy drinks, an entirely new market was born to fulfill a perceived need for energy.
While I am definitely guilty of pushing through with caffeine, it is also important to consider that while these kinds of things can be beneficial to goals in the short term, they can push us back in terms of our health. If we deny our body the things it is telling us we need all of the time, this may eventually affect our physical and mental health. While these kinds of drinks can be helpful, so can the things our bodies truly demand, such as sleep or just relaxation. Sometimes it is not about getting it done but about making sure we are okay after it is over.