NEW STUDY SHOWS THAT ENERGY DRINKS ASSOCIATED WITH MENTAL PROBLEMS, AGGRESSION, AND FATIGUE
Certain industries have a history of using wartime "generosity" to get soldiers hooked on their products, namely alcohol and tobacco. Those of you who have watched an "OLD SOLDIER" trying to drink their nightmares away, or smoking through their 'trache' outside the side door of a VA hospital, know exactly what I mean. It seems that we need to add yet another product to this list.
A study from last month's issue of Military Medicine tells the story via its title; Energy Drink Use in U.S. Service Members After Deployment: Associations With Mental Health Problems, Aggression, and Fatigue. A team of four researchers from Walter Reed's Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience concluded that, "energy drink use was reported by one in six soldiers and was significantly related to mental health problems, aggressive behaviors, and fatigue in a military population following a combat deployment." As I will show with both tobacco and alcohol, it's not like targeting military personnel is anything new when it comes to marketing (or 'hooking') our sons and daughters on highly addictive products.
From WWI through Vietnam, the US military has made sure that our boys got their smokes. And even though this practice was supposedly done away with after the Vietnam War, numerous sources show that it continued all the way into the 1990's and 2000's. Information on this topic is abundant and comes in the form of message board threads, journal articles, studies, and an array of pieces from a wide range of magazines and books. One of the more telling titles came from a 2014 issue of Mother Jones (Is the World’s Most Powerful Military Defenseless Against Big Tobacco?).
"War is indeed dangerous, but cigarettes kill far more soldiers and citizens than war does. It’s not even close. More than 480,000 Americans die from smoking and secondhand smoke exposure every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—more than died on the battlefields of World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam combined. Cigarettes kill more soldiers and sailors than wars do, and cost taxpayers billions. Yet Congress keeps shooting down the Pentagon’s efforts to snuff them out."
Thanks to millions of American servicemen coming home from Europe and the South Pacific addicted to tobacco, within three years after WWII (it ended in August of '45), lung cancer was shown to be growing at a rate five times greater than that of other CANCERS. In WWI, part of the Doughboy's ration was loose tobacco and rolling papers. However, because of ease of use, it didn't take long for factory-rolled cigarettes to become the smokes-of-choice for US servicemen, who, by WWII were being provided with 4-packs as part of their C-rations.
Earlier this year, the Truth Initiative published a piece titled Tobacco Use in the Military, which not only provided tons of information on Big Tobacco's specific efforts to hook the US GI on their products, but revealed how ridiculously high the smoking rates continue to be in, as opposed to outside the military. For more information, read The Cigarette Manufacturers' Efforts to Promote Tobacco to the U.S. Military from the October 2005 issue of the same journal we are discussing today (Military Medicine), the NIH's online book, Combating Tobacco Use in Military and Veteran Populations, or 'Everywhere the Soldier Will Be': Wartime Tobacco Promotion in the US Military from a ten year old issue of the American Journal of Public Health. Which brings us to industry promotion of alcohol in the military.
Honestly, we see virtually the same phenomenon with Big Alcohol's promotion of drinking (mostly beer) as we did for tobacco ---- and it's nothing new. The magazine, All About Beer, published a 2002 article by Alan Moen titled Beer Goes to War, which revealed that advocating beer drinking within the military has been going on for a very long time, much to the delight of brewers.
"As part of a soldier’s regular daily ration as decreed by the Continental Congress, beer fueled the flames of freedom burning within its armies. The statute, enacted on November 4, 1775, stipulated that each soldier be provided with 'I QT of Spruce Beer, or Cider/man/day.' George Washington himself, major general of the American rebel army, was a firm believer in the importance of beer as a staple for his troops. According to historian Gregg Smith, 'among Washington’s least recognized but most valuable skills was locating his encampments within reach of a supply of beer.'"
The trend continued through the Civil War, WWI, and into WWII, where the USDA actually mandated that a whopping 15% of all US beer production go to our boys overseas (as well as 30% of our national cigarette production). By the time Vietnam rolled around, beer was ubiquitous to military facilities, with numerous articles and message boards speaking of fire-bases supplied with stacked pallets of their most important ammunition, beer. Industry sentiment was captured by Jake Hall, writing for a 2015 issue of War on the Rocks (A Farewell to Sobriety, Part Two: Drinking During World War II).
"Consider the lobbying hours that American distilleries must have put in with politicians, insisting that war or no, they were all still capitalists together, and that making torpedo fuel was good, but making money was essential."
Since I am not against having a few beers now and then, what's the point? Only that American industry has proven time and time again that it will do whatever it takes to both create and keep market share, seeing our soldiers as highly valuable commodities; damn the long-term health-related consequences. Enough, however, about tobacco and alcohol; let's take a moment and step into the world of the American military's latest addiction ---- "Energy Drinks".
The most popular energy drinks today (Red Bull, Rockstar, Amp, and Monster) also happened to be the ones specifically mentioned in this study. Numerous other studies, however, have likewise shown energy drinks and their ingredients (copious amounts of sugar, caffeine, etc) can lead to MIGRAINES, INSOMNIA (due to creating an artificially induced state of SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE), ADDICTION, INSULIN RESISTANCE & T2D, HBP, and any number of others including cardiac arrest / heart failure. The study we are looking at today specifically listed ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, and alcohol abuse (a whopping 30%), along with various forms of violent behavior and PTSD, as commonly associated with regular consumption of energy drinks. Is anyone shocked?
Earlier this year (July), the National Institute of Health issued a rather freaky warning for energy drink consumption, which provided a glimpse into just how popular these products are with the younger generation. "Energy drinks are widely promoted as products that increase energy and enhance mental alertness and physical performance. Next to multivitamins, energy drinks are the most popular dietary supplement consumed by American teens and young adults. Men between the ages of 18 and 34 years consume the most energy drinks, and almost one-third of teens between 12 and 17 years drink them regularly." Among other facts mentioned, was the propensity to use them as alcohol mixers.
Takeaways from today's study were that seven months post-combat, over three quarters of the nearly 700 soldiers quizzed, still reported regularly consuming energy drinks, with 1 in 6 quaffing more than two a day. What's probably not surprising is that a 2012 study (Energy Drink Consumption and its Association with Sleep Problems Among U.S. Service Members on a Combat Deployment - Afghanistan, 2010) showed that consumption was even higher for soldiers in the field, with an almost unbelievable 45% drinking these creatures daily (BTW, that study came to similar conclusions as this one). Listen to the findings from the authors of today's study.
"In the deployed context, the appeal of energy drinks is understandable given that there is substantial restriction in sleep as well as regular circadian disruption due to night-time operations; indeed, caffeine is a recommended option to sustain alertness in this environment. During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, energy drinks were often made readily available to deployed service members at no cost. Interestingly, energy drink use was associated with fatigue. This relationship suggests that energy drink use may potentially exacerbate, rather than alleviate, fatigue. This finding stands in contrast to the marketing of energy drinks as a way to increase energy and reduce fatigue."
I well remember the marketing campaign for the first energy drink; something called Jolt (1985) that I am not sure whether or not is still around ---- "All the sugar and twice the caffeine". Bottom line, if you or your children are regular or even semi-regular consumers of energy drinks, SODA, or worse yet, DIET SODA, stop it already. Numerous studies have not only shown their association to a myriad of health problems, but just as bad, for a significant number of people this stuff is as addictive as crack (HERE).
If you are looking to turn your life around, break out of the fatigue and mental fog, diminish your systemic inflammatory load, and basically start the process of taking your life back, now is the time to start preparing and planning. I say preparing and planning because the NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION you are contemplating in less than a week, will be broken in less than two ---- unless you do two things. Create a written plan (HERE) and get an accountability partner who will encourage you, chide you, or drop kick you into next week, whichever is most appropriate for your situation (HERE). If you want to see my generic protocol for getting healthier, it's HERE and it's completely free. And if you liked today's post, be sure to see that it makes the rounds on FACEBOOK --- especially if you have teenagers!
"Available evidence in humans shows that sugar and sweetness can induce reward and craving that are comparable in magnitude to those induced by addictive drugs.... Overall, this research has revealed that sugar and sweet reward can not only substitute to addictive drugs, like cocaine, but can even be more rewarding and attractive. At the neurobiological level, the neural substrates of sugar and sweet reward appear to be more robust than those of cocaine." From the abstract of the July 2013 issue of the medical journal, Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care
Google the term "SUGAR ADDICTION" and you'll get over six million hits (a couple of them might even be articles I wrote on the subject). Even though it is, an addiction; it is one of America's more "acceptable" addictions --- one that people who roll up their nose at drunks or drug addicts can engage in without any significant social scorn from their peers --- it is and addiction nonetheless. How do you know whether you are a sugar addict or not? Although a Sugar Addiction is not usually as blatantly ugly as other addictions are, just give it a little time and it will produce not only the classic psychological signs of the addict, it will also manifest a host of physical symptoms as well --- symptoms that reveal just how serious a problem this really is. Take the simple self-test below.
- TRYING TO HIDE YOUR ADDICTION: Although easy at first, this gets consistently more difficult because of the continual need for more of what you crave. This is the very nature of an addiction. No matter your drug-of-choice, it always takes "more" to experience any feelings of the 'high' (increased pleasure / reduced emotional negativity). Eventually, hiding the addiction becomes impossible.
- SUGAR STASHES: Remember the old TV shows where the town drunk would have partially-drunk whiskey bottles stashed in almost every conceivable place? Many sugar addicts do the same thing.
- EXCUSES / DENIAL: What's amazing is how similar these excuses and denials sound to the excuses and denials made by alcoholics or drug addicts. I personally know a person who became seriously addicted to prescription painkillers after a serious injury. Although the injury had healed and this person could have gotten off the meds, it took an inordinate amount of time and intervention. You should have heard the excuses.
- ANYTHING FOR A FIX: Do you start your day with sugar (HERE)? If you find yourself in bizarre situations trying to get your hands on sugar or carbs, you definitely have a problem. Just like those addicted to hard drugs, the sugar addict will do anything to get their fix. It is the focal point of their lives.
- CONTINUING DESPITE THE PERSISTENT DAMAGE IT IS DOING: As you have seen, this damage can be physical, psychological, or more likely, a combination of the two. Even though a person might realize it is destroying their health and relationships, they choose sugar anyway. It is frequently the single most powerful motivating factor in their life.
- PATHOLOGICAL CRAVINGS / FEAR OF GIVING UP SUGAR: Do you have health or social problems that affect school, work, or relationships because of the need to consume sugar and carbs, yet keep on doing so despite the negative consequences? Do you chase after sugar even though it is causing you physical or emotional pain? Is it the driving force in your life? Near the end of his month-long journey as captured in the documentary Super Size Me, a recently overweight Morgan Spurlock tells his video camera that the only time he feels good about himself now is when he is, "eating this crap". If you are using sugar /carbs to boost your mood (serotonin levels), or can't bear the thought of giving up the stuff (HERE), you probably have a sugar addiction. One more thing; if you feel DEPRESSED at the mere thought of going without sugar, it's a dead give away that you have an addiction.
- PLAYING THE SUBSTITUTION GAME: This could mean that you are substituting sugar substitutes for sugar (HERE). However, it could mean something far more insidious (HERE).
- ISSUES WITH WEIGHT: Although sugar addiction almost always leads to OBESITY, sometimes people think they are getting away with it because they are still skinny. This is simply because some people's over-taxed pancreases take longer to burn out than others. Be aware that even though you might be of a "normal" weight, too much sugar or starch has a tendency to create the SKINNY FAT EFFECT. Once people begin gaining the extra weight, the "FAT BUT FIT" excuse is an old standby.
- OTHER ADDICTIONS: This is particularly true of things like coffee, SMOKES, or alcohol (which itself is metabolized just like sugar). When the pancreas burns out due to Uncontrolled Blood Sugar (see next point) the ADRENAL GLANDS kick in to help the failing pancreas. Most sugar addicts will frequently want things that boost their Adrenal Response (caffeine, nicotine, sugar). Unfortunately, this is not helpful, and is a doorway to a whole host of other problems.
- UNCONTROLLED BLOOD SUGAR: Numerous people will tell me that they do not have a problem with blood sugar because they recently had their blood checked and it was normal (HERE). If they are consuming mass quantities of sugar on a regular basis, they are fooling themselves (HERE). Uncontrolled Blood Sugar is the number one health issue facing the American population today --- and it's not even close. The last point in this section will go into more detail.
- YOU ARE TIRED AND SLUGGISH AFTER YOU EAT: If you feel tired or sluggish after meals, you undoubtedly have REACTIVE HYPOGLYCEMIA. This is the BLOOD SUGAR low that comes "reactively" after the high. Low blood sugar and high blood sugar are two sides of the same coin that we call Diabetes.
- YOU HAVE TROUBLE CONCENTRATING: There are numerous studies touting the ill effects of sugar on cognitive function as well as dementia. In fact, ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE is now being called Type III Diabetes because its characteristic brain plaques result from Uncontrolled Blood Sugar.
- A COMPROMISED IMMUNE SYSTEM: You are constantly sick (HERE). The problem is, sugar and ANTIBIOTICS are a devastating combination (HERE), that leads to a wide variety of DYSBIOTIC HEALTH ISSUES, including Systemic (blood-borne) Yeast. The yeast itself requires sugar to survive and creates horrendous cravings in its attempt to take over your body. Besides Antibiotics, CORTICOSTEROIDS (a form of Innumo-suppressive drug) create sugar cravings as well.
- DIMINISHED LIBIDO: Whether male or female, if you don't have the desire to have sex, you are likely dealing with a blood sugar issues (HERE and HERE). If you would trade sex for a handful of bon bons, you have a sugar addiction.
- HORMONAL ISSUES --- PARTICULARLY PCOS: Listen to what Dr Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, author of "Beat Sugar Addiction Now" said on the June 10, 2010 episode of ABC's 6:00 news, "hormonal fluctuations in women entering menopause can cause anxiety, depression, and insulin resistance that can also lead to sugar addictions". Although he is correct, this is a chicken 'egg thing, meaning the opposite is true as well. For more on PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome --- the #1 female problem in America today --- go HERE).
- INCREASED ACIDITY: If you are fighting diseases of acidity (although there are many, the two that most immediately come to mind are CANCER and OSTEOPOROSIS), it would not be a stretch to wonder if you have a sugar addiction. Get some litmus paper at the corner drug store and test your pH.
- ALL SICKNESS AND DISEASE: AUTOIMMUNITY, INFLAMMATORY ILLNESS, and almost every single health issue you care to mention (see the bullet point above on Uncontrolled Blood Sugar) have similar starting points. If you would rather ignore this than click on the links, you are likely addicted to sugar / carbs.
HOW TO CONQUER YOUR SUGAR ADDICTION
- STOP MAKING EXCUSES AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR HEALTH AND YOUR LIFE ---- ADMIT YOU ARE AN ADDICT AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT: As is the case with all sorts of problems, the first thing you have to do is identify it as such. As long as you stay in denial, nothing will get accomplished.
- LEARN THE MANY WAYS THAT SUGAR HIDES: Simply learn to read food labels. Oh, and be aware that you might even have a GLUTOMORPHIN ADDICTION as well. Even though you have never heard of this, it is far more common (and scary) than imagined.
- DON'T BRING CRAP IN YOUR HOUSE, CAR, OR WORKPLACE: This is a no-brainer folks. If you are stashing junk food in strategic places, you will fail in your endeavor to kick your addiction. You have to stay away from the stuff. Period. Unfortunately, 'church' is all too often a dangerous place for the sugar addict.
- GET YOURSELF AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER: Most of us benefit from someone to help hold our fingers to the fire. Although it can be done (HERE), most persons will have a rough go of it when kicking an addiction alone. HERE is how I have gone about this in the past.
- EXERCISE THE RIGHT WAY: Although there about a jillion ways to exercise, if you want the straight scoop on getting the most benefit out of the shortest amount of time, go HERE.
- ABSTAIN FROM SUGAR AND HIGH GLYCEMIC INDEX CARBOHYDRATES: Listen folks. I already know you are going to call me a harsh, hard-hearted SOB for saying this, but truthfully; I don't really care. When we addicts get down to the point where the rubber meets the road, there's only one way to lick an addiction (this is largely true for any addiction). You have to go Cold Turkey! If you will simply eliminate the sugar, carbs, and artificial sweeteners from your life, your cravings will dramatically subside, and eventually go away (usually within a matter of weeks). How has that whole "I'll just cut back a bit" thing been working for you so far? That's right. It doesn't. In fact, it constantly re-starts and feeds your cravings. If you are addicted to narcotics or alcohol you can’t simply just 'cut down' a bit. By cutting out all forms of sugar (starch, bread, pasta, OJ, fruit --- yeah, for many people fruit is one of those "substitutions" we dealt with earlier ---- artificial sweeteners, and almost anything that is processed), you actually allow your brain's chemistry to recalibrate itself. If you think you can 'dabble' with sugar / carbs and still kick the habit, you are fooling yourself.
- CHANGE YOUR DIET AND CONTROL BLOOD SUGAR BY EATING SMALL PROTEIN-BASED MEALS MORE OFTEN: For Pete's sake; it's practically 2014. Can we get over the FEAR OF DIETARY FAT thing already? Follow the advice on this bullet point and watch your cravings fly out the window. And as far as what sort of diet you need to be eating? You must do something that controls blood sugar! Although there are a ton of these out there, I recommend PALEO for the reasons listed in the posts you will find if you click on the link.
- START YOUR DAY THE RIGHT WAY: We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Start living it (HERE)!
- USE A GREENS PRODUCT: There are many of these out there. We use THIS ONE . Not necessarily because it's the best product on the market, but because it is a good product that does not taste like pond scum. These products are valuable for helping solve sugar / carb cravings, while providing some solid nutrition in the process.
- DON'T BE AFRAID TO EAT BIG: When FRED & DIANE HARMON recently returned to our home, she treated us all to an authentic, home-cooked, multi-course, Thai meal. It involved fresh ingredients, freshly ground herbs and spices (yes, she brought her own mortar and pestle), some lean meat, and copious amounts of fresh vegetables. You could literally gorge yourself on foods like this at every meal --- and still LOSE WEIGHT. Until you resolve the calorie myth, you will have problems dealing with sugar / carb addictions.
- NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS: This is where everyone wants to go first. Hey, it's the way our medically-propagandized brains work. It also happens to one of the biggest FAILED PROMISES of modern medicine. However, there is one supplement I recommend for helping you successfully accomplishing this endeavor. PGFO. Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil (not the junk from Mal Wart or the health food store) is excellent for helping with DEPRESSION, ADHD / ANXIETY, INFLAMMATION, LEAKY GUT SYNDROME, symptoms of SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE, FIBROMYALGIA, UNCONTROLLED BLOOD SUGAR, AUTOIMMUNITY, as well as most ENDOCRINE and HORMONAL ISSUES. But please listen to me for a moment. As well as various supplements can work for some people, there is no substitute for a good diet. Read and follow the Paleo Posts above, and you will succeed in your quest to kick the sugar habit!
GARY TAUBES: GOOD CALORIES / BAD CALORIES, & WHY WE GET FAT
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).
Brain Based Therapy
Can You Help
Cardio Or Strength
Cold Laser Therapy
Death By Medicine
Degenerative Joint Disease
D's Of Chronic Pain
Evidence Based Medicine
Gluten Cross Reactivity
Ice Or Heat
Jacks Fork River
Leaky Gut Syndrome
Number One Health Problem
Platelet Rich Therapy
Post Surgical Scarring
Re Invent Yourself
Rib And Chest Pain
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Sleeping Pills Kill
Stay Or Go
Stretching Post Treatment
Tensegrity And Fascia
The Big Four
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Whole Body Vibration