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    Archive for the ‘ginseng’ Category

    In The News: What’s Next? Genetically Modified Bananas With Extra Potassium?

    Desperate times do indeed call for desperate measures.

    Currently experiencing a lull in revenue, coffee giant Starbucks jumps on the energy drink bandwagon 5 years after everyone else.

    That’s right — you can now amp any Starbucks beverage — hot or iced — by simply saying “plus energy” at the end of your order (dare you to order a “grande sugarfree vanilla decaf carameal macchiatto with breve plus energy” without stopping to take a breath!).

    The “plus energy” concoction — created by Starbucks’ “research and development team, a group of culinary experts, food scientists and product designers” — includes the usual suspects: ginseng, guarana, taurine, L-carnitine, and B vitamins.

    FYI: Guarana is a berry native to South America containing four times as much caffeine as coffee beans. It’s extremely popular in Brazil, where it is mainly consumed as a soda, in both regular and diet varieties.

    Is all this really necessary in a coffee-based drink? I vote “no.”

    Why are “energy mixes” billed as the only solution for a drop in energy levels? Is healthy eating and getting enough shut eye not “cool” enough?

    And why are we increasingly encouraging people to walk around like the Energizer bunny on crack?

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    Say What?: It’s Not Broken. Don’t Fix It

    It is no surprise that soda manufacturers are always looking to increase sales.

    They have introduced new flavors (some, like the repulsive Pepsi Blue, landed with a resounding thud), added vitamins to beverages (Diet Coke Plus), and now the folks at Pepsi — eager to compete against the ever growing energy drink market — are hyping Diet Pepsi Max.

    In case the multi-million dollar national campaign hasn’t been implanted into your brain, Diet Pepsi Max contains ginseng and twice the caffeine of regular Diet Pepsi.

    It’s actually billed as an “invigorating cola.”

    Big whoop.

    In terms of caffeine, you’re talking 46 milligrams per 8 ounces, as opposed to conventional Diet Pepsi’s 24 milligrams.

    Let’s knock down the buzz and put it in perspective: an eight ounce cup of coffee clocks in at approximately 175 milligrams.

    If the whole purpose of this drink is to “boost your energy” (as the press kit claims), and caffeine content is one of its selling points, why does it contain less than the smallest size at Starbucks?

    Ginseng, meanwhile, is included to “focus your mind.” Have I time warped to 1999 when ginseng was the hot new herb on the market?

    This concept of ginseng as a mind-sharpener is completely overhyped and appears to be mostly a placebo effect.

    New York University clinical assistant professor Lisa Sasson is equally annoyed by this new drink.

    This drink is making it seem like it will give you an edge, a boost of energy, but the best way to achieve that is through adequate sleep,” she says.

    Sasson believes sleep is underrated. “Sleep deficit catches up. It absolutely affects health and wellness. Having diet soda with a little caffeine and ginseng doesn’t make up for the fact that you only got four hours of sleep the night before.

    Do you think Diet Pepsi Max will sink or float?

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