In Defense of Red Bull

I am addicted to Red Bull. Those near and dear to me know it. My students have tried to convince me the taurine in it is bull semen, which I’ve then had to rebuff with science.

I’ve also told them I’d keep drinking it even if it were true.

I lived most of my life without caffeine, at least at the doses other humans used to get through the day-to-day. When I started having heart issues, I was ordered not to have any, which I obliged for three solid years, including most of my college years AND my first two “real” jobs. I did all of that without the aid of our most popular and acceptable legal drug.

But when I hit my third real job and grad school and my fourth real job and being a full-time girlfriend, puppy mom, self-provider… well, I had to get back on the wagon whether I wanted to or not. At this point, I had my POTS semi-diagnosis, and I had read somewhere along the way that caffeine can help some cases. Why not, right?

Enter caf tea, then coffee, then sodas, then all of the above at once. My life was a joy of artificial awareness! Sweet Moses, how I had missed the bitterness of a strong cup o’ joe on my tongue; longed for the earthy numbness of Yerba mate! Now I could have it all! THE WORLD WAS MINE!

… for a while. When I picked up my old Diet Coke habit I’d had before my doctor ordered me off caffeine completely, all my old issues returned. I realized fast it was due to the aspartame, something I have to avoid in high doses, but I had to cut off the caf while my heart’s rhythmic issues resolved themselves. These months should be renamed The Dark Ages or I Barely Remember Anything Because I Was So Tired ALL. THE. TIME!

It happened by accident, really. It seemed like it had been long enough for me to pick back up the aspartame-free caf. That day in Ohio, the only caf that happened to be around was Red Bull.

It’s been a love affair since. Minus the sugar, it’s actually a damn healthy form of caffeine. It’s full of B-vitamins aka your mother would approve/P.S. YOUR HAIR IS SO SHINY! Oh, and yeah, the sugar isn’t great, but if you’re going to a chain coffee store and getting a mocha latte white chocolate pumpkin green tea frappucino? You are ingesting WAY more than that. Same for sodas: much more sugar.

Bonus: I have always been prone to jitters with caffeine, especially coffee. But get this! No jitters with DA BULL! Plus it’s cold, refreshing, and delicious. Need I say more? OH YEAH! The facts…

The Facts:
Less caffeine than a regular brewed coffee (75-80mg vs. 95-200 mg).
Basically the most “natural” energy drink you can find.
+ At least the sugar is real (not HFCS or aspartame, etc.) if you drink the regular version.
+ Oh, and there is way, way, way less of it (and other bullshit additives) than, say, a grande Starbucks (330mgs of caffeine, too, BY THE WAY.)
+ PACKED with vitamins and amino acids.
+ First ingredient is water, which is the most important ingredient in ANY food and/or beauty product.
+ No known carcinogens.

By the way… the other day, in an effort to appease some of my more concerned students and colleagues, I picked up a protein drink to wake me up. When I put it beside my Red Bull, I laughed too hard (but also cried) because it was PACKED with horrible crap.

IMG_4558

First of all, look at that ingredient list. Are you joking?! SEE HOW MANY INGREDIENTS ARE IN RED BULL? SUPER, I DO, TOO. I can also pronounce all of them and know that all the lesser-known terms on the list are either sugar or vitamins thanks to my time working with a nutrition program.

IMG_4559

But the Muscle Milk is full of disgusting oils, a thickener or two, and even a KNOWN CARCINOGEN, not to mention packed with fat and sodium. Yes, it’s got vitamins on vitamins, but at the cost of drinking canola oil and cellulose potentially NOT derived from a plant.

IMG_4560

I triple dog dare you to try and pronounce some of the terms on that second label. Some are vitamins, yes, but most are food additives that aren’t necessary.

So hey, how about you back off the Red Bull? If you’re drinking it in moderation on a hydrated, healthy body, you have nothing to worry about. It’s just like sipping a cup of coffee or strong tea. It’s only when you, as a user, make bad choices that this drink becomes an issue.

But the same can be said for any drink, can’t it? (LOOKING AT YOU, ALCOHOL!)

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