The Instigator
lin0913
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points
The Contender
RicardoChaves
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Energy drinks should be regulated as drugs by the Food and Drug Administration.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
lin0913
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/28/2013 Category: Health
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,544 times Debate No: 43047
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)

 

lin0913

Pro

First round is acceptance.
Second round is constructive only (no rebuttals).
Third round is constructive and rebuttals.
Fourth round is rebuttals only (no new arguments).
Fifth round is summary and impact weighing.

Please keep content organized, appropriate, and respectful. Use correct grammar and spelling. Ad hominem will not be tolerated. A forfeit means a win for the other side. I will define in the second round and set up framework.

Thanks, and good luck!

-Lulu

P.S. Feel free to leave constructive criticism in the comments. Voters, give reasons for your decision.
RicardoChaves

Con

I accept :)!
Debate Round No. 1
lin0913

Pro

Thanks to my opponent for accepting. I'm looking forward to an excellent debate.

My main contentions are --
1. Energy Drinks have detrimental effects to the body.
2. Energy Drinks behave like drugs.

Definitions:
Regulate = (According to U.S. Congress) to control the amount of something in an official manner. In this case, we will be discussing the regulation of the amount of caffeine in the energy drink.
Energy Drink = Drink with extremely high amounts of caffeine, taurine, & other dangerous substances.

1. Energy Drinks have detrimental effects to the body.
The consumption of energy drinks can have very dangerous & unhealthy side effects. A long-term effects of energy drink ingredients is addiction. Caffeine withdrawal is also an extremely common effect correlated with energy drinks. The problem is, the section that the energy drinks are currently put in is "dietary supplements", which is very misleading as consumers think it"s good for them. Regulation will fix this & bring attention to these harmful products!
According to the American College of Medical Toxicology:
43% of people who use energy drinks report poor sleep & increased inattention throughout the following day, rather than the supposed "benefits".
All these side effects can do very harmful things. Esp. for teenagers, poor sleep can result in bad growing habits. This will lead to bad study habits as well. Also, 67% of all teens take Energy Drinks to stay up late & study, but this can actually be very bad for their bodies.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine:
Energy drinks have no nutritional benefit.
When teens consume energy drinks, they believe that it provides benefits due to its misleading categorization, while in reality no benefits really happen. Not only does it harm the consumer, these drinks aren"t even doing what they"re supposed to do!
According to the Miami Herald:
4 athletes, who were all previously healthy, were sent to the hospital after consuming an energy drink before exercising.
Let"s think about this for a moment. How would perfectly healthy bodies with fully mature systems get sent to a hospital after consuming energy drinks? What would happen to the children, whose systems aren"t even fully developed yet? This is what regulation will prevent!

2. Energy drinks behave like drugs.
There is a worry that young people will experience the "gateway" effect: the concept that addiction to energy drinks could make it more likely for one to move on to riskier substances such as illegal drugs. This is why energy drinks are the new "gateway" drug.
According to National Science Board:
People that drank energy drinks are 2 times more likely to abuse alcohol, smoke marijuana, etc. compared to people who don't.
Also, energy drinks cause consumers to become addicted, making it nearly impossible to stop drinking. When they try to stop, withdrawal and a variety of harmful symptoms, occur.
According to the Fitness Magazine:
Energy drink consumers are more likely to get withdrawal symptoms & pain than smokers or alcohol consumers.
Withdrawal is the behavior of a drug. Thus, shouldn"t we regulate it as a drug? Also, coming back from addiction is extremely hard, like going up a waterfall once you already jumped down. When it gets to the point that the addiction causes a consumer"s body to not function properly with o taking it daily, something needs to be done.
According to the FDA:
Caffeine is a drug.
It is clear that some of our bodies are not able to handle the combination of caffeine with other ingredients such as Taurine, Gurana and Ginseng in Energy drinks. Moreover, energy drink manufacturers are misleading the consumer by throwing in some vitamin additives to show that it is good for the consumer.

This concludes my argument. I'm looking forward to my opponent's response.
RicardoChaves

Con

"Energy drinks should be regulated as drugs by the Food and Drug Administration."

There is a situation here and I want to clarify, your title specifies that Energy Drinks should be regulated as drugs and not if Energy Drinks should be regulated at all. I want to make clear that this debate is not if Energy Drinks should be regulated but if they should be regulated as drugs!

Definition of Drugs by the FDA:


"The FD&C Act defines drugs, in part, by their intended use, as "articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease" and "articles (other than food) intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals" [FD&C Act, sec. 201(g)(1)]." [1]


Argument 1

Energy Drinks are neither "articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease" nor "articles (other than food) intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals".

The first part is pretty obvious Energy Drinks are not used in diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease.
The second is a bit more tricky, let's see how does the FDA defines food:

" Food means a raw, cooked, or processed edible substance, ice, beverage, or ingredient used or intended for use or for sale in whole or in part for human consumption, or chewing gum."[2]

Interesting now let's see how the FDA defines a beverage:

"Beverage means a liquid for drinking, including water."[2]

I think that all of you can agree with me that Energy Drinks are "a liquid for drinking".


Conclusion:

Even if the FDA decides to regulate Energy Drinks they can never, I repeat never regulate them as drugs.
But there is one more important explanation, the FDA defines caffeine as a drug but does not define foods containing caffeine as drugs for example: Soft Drinks, Iced Tea, Hot Tea, Coffee, Dark Chocolate, etc.


Argument 2

Energy Drinks levels of caffeine are not exaggerated high, compared to other beverages and compared to the caffeine levels recommended by the FDA

In terms of caffeine, a can of Red bull(12 ounces) have 80mg, a drip coffee(8 ounces) can have between 115-175mg, a Pepsi One(12 ounces) have 55mg of caffeine the exactly same amount to a Mountain Dew(12 ounces) and a Diet Coke have 45.6mg.[3]

Pretty interesting values specially if we make some specific observations, when we go to the MacDonald's and we ask for Large Size Diet Coke how many caffeine grams are we ingesting?

According to MacDonald's a Large Diet Coke have 30 ounces[4], so if 12 ounces of Diet Coke contain 45.6mg of caffeine, 30 ounces contain 114mg exactly 42,5% more than a can of Red bull.

So what are the recommended values of Caffeine by the FDA?

"Studies suggest that moderate amounts of caffeine are not harmful. How much is moderate? One hundred to 200 mg (one to two 5-ounce cups of coffee) each day is the limit that some doctors suggest, but each person is a little different. How caffeine affects people varies with their size, their sex, and how sensitive they are to caffeine’s effects. Experts agree that 600 mg (four to seven cups of coffee) of caffeine or more each day is too much." [5]

So according to the FDA they give us 2 different informations, some doctors recommend from 100 to 200mg of caffeine per day, that is 2 cans of red bull. And they tell us that experts agree that 600mg each day is too much, that is 7.5 cans of red bull which means that if you drink 8 cans of red bull a day you are drinking too much but if you drink 7 cans of red bull a day you are in the safe zone.

Conclusion:

If you are responsible you will never drink 8 cans of red bull a day so caffeine alone is not a very high value and not an issue specially if you compare them to other beverages.
And let me be clear about something drinking 8 cans of red bull won't kill you, and you probably won't feel many side effects the problem here is if you consume 8 cans of red bull a day for long periods of time.
The FDA gives us some information about death by Caffeine overdose:

"Caffeine overdose is dangerous and can kill you. FDA knows of a 19 year old college student who died after taking an overdose of caffeine tablets to stay awake. A caffeine tablet contains as much caffeine as one to three 5-ounce cups of coffee."[5]


Some Counter Arguments


"According to National Science Board:
People that drank energy drinks are 2 times more likely to abuse alcohol, smoke marijuana, etc. compared to people who don't.
Also, energy drinks cause consumers to become addicted, making it nearly impossible to stop drinking. When they try to stop, withdrawal and a variety of harmful symptoms, occur."

The first part is totally irrelevant, it is the same as saying poor people are more likely to abuse alcohol, smoke marijuana, etc. Who cares? It is not an argument in favor of the FDA to regulate the drink as a drug.
Second one only occurs because of the caffeine and as I showed that it is unlikely to get addicted to caffeine only if you consume a LOT of caffeine per day. And still it is not an argument in favor of regulating them as a drug because you can drink caffeine from other Soft Drinks and they are not regulated as drugs.


Final Conclusion


By the FDA definitions Energy drinks can never be regulated as drugs. But even if they could be considered as drugs there not enough information to classify them as "drugs", ok they contain caffeine but it isn't something crazy you can become addicted to caffeine with much easier and cheaper products like coffee and Soft Drinks. Should we regulate them all as drugs? I don't think so it is an extreme measure and shouldn't be done!


Sources:

[1] - http://www.fda.gov...
[2] - http://www.fda.gov...
[3] - http://www.math.utah.edu...
[4] - http://www.mcdonalds.com...
[5] -http://www.fda.gov...
Debate Round No. 2
lin0913

Pro

An excellent opening argument made by my opponent.
I'll start by refuting.

My opponent's main arguments are:
A1. Energy drinks are not drugs.
A2. There is not a huge amount of caffeine in energy drinks.

A1)
To justify this my opponent states an energy drink counts as a beverage by the FDA definition. However, according to the FDA, caffeine is a drug.
So how much caffeine is in the majority of energy drinks? According to Consumer Reports, the most popular energy drinks (Monster Energy, Rock Star, 5 Hour Energy) have 100-200 mg of caffeine, but some versions of Monster and 5 Hour have almost 250 mg. This is a huge amount.
Also, a characteristic of all drugs -- a DEFINING characteristic -- is addiction and withdrawal. People CAN get addicted to energy drinks, as I've proven. When they're forced to stop drinking them, they go through withdrawal. This is one of the defining characteristics of a drug. You don't get addicted to beverages like orange juice. Although energy drinks are a "liquid for drinking," they're not a BEVERAGE.
My opponent also states that the FDA does not define foods containing caffeine as drugs, such as coffee, iced tea, soft drinks, dark chocolate, etc. In saying this, he fails to realize two things: 1. soft drinks are regulated in the amount of caffeine they may contain while energy drinks are not and 2. all of these examples have less caffeine than the average energy drink. 5 Hour Energy has 215 mg of caffeine per serving. An 8-ounce cup of coffee has about 100 (although Starbucks usually has more at 150 mg). A soft drink like Coke has 39 mg of caffeine. Compare all these to the caffeine content of an energy drink, 215 mg. Quite clearly, energy drinks cannot be grouped into the same category as soda, tea, coffee, or chocolate.

A2)
My opponent justifies his claim by stating the level of caffeine in energy drinks is not high compared to the standards recommended by the FDA. However, he fails to realize who the majority of consumers of energy drinks are: adolescents. According to the FDA, the recommended amount of caffeine for kids, depending on their size and weight, is 45-85 mg. Although teens probably fall into a higher category, I think we can all agree that the 215 mg of 5 hour Energy is way too much. Monster X-presso has even more at 220 mg and Rock Star is absurdly high at 229. All these popular brands are WAY over the limit.
An attempt is made by my opponent to compare soda and coffee to energy drinks. Judging by his cherry-picked evidence, he wants us to conclude that coffee has a lot more caffeine than energy drinks, appealing to common sense that no one has died from coffee. But think about a tall steaming cup of coffee. How many people chug that down in a few gulps? How many coffees do you drink a day? The answer to all these questions are probably going to be different if I asked these questions about energy drinks. Coffee is not a valid comparison to energy drinks.

My opponent also provides a counter argument, which I'll break down into three parts.
Part A: "The first part is totally irrelevant, it is the same as saying poor people are more likely to abuse alcohol, smoke marijuana, etc. Who cares? It is not an argument in favor of the FDA to regulate the drink as a drug."
His argument about poor people is completely irrelevant as there is nothing we can do to prevent them from getting addicted to drugs, but we can regulate energy drinks as drugs to try and prevent people who are addicted to them to get addicted to things like crack and heroin.
Part B: "Second one only occurs because of the caffeine and as I showed that it is unlikely to get addicted to caffeine only if you consume a LOT of caffeine per day."
He's just hit the nail on the head. Caffeine IS a drug. You can get addicted to something with massive amounts of a drug in it. I've already proven that people have gotten addicted to energy drinks, so my opponent's refutation is completely invalid in the face of solid evidence.
Part C: "And still it is not an argument in favor of regulating them as a drug because you can drink caffeine from other Soft Drinks and they are not regulated as drugs."
I've refuted this already in my refutation of his second argument. Energy drinks have a substantial amount of caffeine, while soft drinks only have a little. Furthermore, soft drinks are regulated in the amount of caffeine they may have, so they have a lot less caffeine.

Having refuted all of my opponent's points, I'll move on to my own.

P1. Energy Drinks have detrimental effects to the body.
Adults & kids are taking an overdose of energy drinks & we need to put an end to it. This can cause serious effects similar to drunk driving, which also happens with other drugs.
National Center for Health Statistics:
A form of drunk driving occurs 86% of the time after consuming energy drinks.
Not only this, consuming multiple energy drinks has sent adults to emergency rooms with racing heart beats, usually 220-250 beats per minute! But Judge, if adults with fully mature bodies couldn"t handle the caffeine, what would happen to the kids? Besides this, there are actually instances where alcohol is in Energy Drinks.
Brown Univ.:
Four Loko, an energy drink, is 12% alcohol, which is the equivalent of 4-6 beers.
Also, 78% of all Energy Drinks actually have alcohol!
Judge, just imagine. Every time someone consumes one energy drink they could be consuming up to 6 beers alcohol wise! Does this look like something healthy for average teens, or even adults, who should only be consuming 60-70 mg of caffeine a day? Regulation can prevent people from harming themselves and others due to energy drinks.

P2. Energy Drinks behave like drugs.
Judge, currently energy drinks are becoming the new "gateway" drug. Keyword: drug.
American Beverage Association:
If someone drinks 6 or more energy drinks a month, they have a 3x greater risk of smoking cigarettes or engaging in a fight.
Judge, even if energy drinks don"t cause that much harm, the gateway effect will lead them to consume more riskier substances, which will inevitably cause extreme adverse effects.
Oklahoma State Study:
Teens that drink energy drinks consume more than 2x the amount of alcohol & have far riskier drinking habits than those who drink alcohol.
Judge, this study shows that energy drinks can lead to even worse abuse of alcohol & cigarettes! Not only this, it has similar adverse effects like withdrawal, a common condition obtained when taking drugs. If this is the case, shouldn"t it be regulated like a drug?
Univ. of Miami:
Energy drinks cause severe addiction, possibly worse than even cigarettes.
In some cases, consumers could go from 1 bottle a day to 5 bottles a day.
As I already stated, it"s the addiction that"s extremely harmful. Maybe in the beginning the consumer is going to take energy drinks in moderation, but slowly they"ll get addicted, until their bodies won"t function with o it, like what happens with alcohol. Then, withdrawal symptoms occur!
Health Psych Magazine:
Withdrawal can cause nausea, vomiting, & other undesirable effects.
NY Times:
There were 7,800 adult ER visits in 2009 caused by energy drinks.
As I've already stated, if this can happen to a person with fully mature systems, what would happen to a teen or adolescent? The answer to my own question is significantly higher heart rates & even more ER visits, almost all leading to extremely adverse effects like withdrawal.
RicardoChaves

Con

RicardoChaves forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
lin0913

Pro

That was a good starting argument, why did you forfeit? :(
RicardoChaves

Con

RicardoChaves forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
lin0913

Pro

Seeing as my opponent forfeited, voters please vote for me! Thanks!
RicardoChaves

Con

RicardoChaves forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Buckethead31594 3 years ago
Buckethead31594
lin0913RicardoChavesTied
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Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: It's a shame to see that Con had forfeited, considering how well they were doing beforehand. Nonetheless, my vote goes to Pro.