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SALT LAKE CITY — 5-Hour Energy drinks have become a popular item to give people a boost and help them get through a long day. But the New York Times reports that federal authorities are now investigating up to 13 deaths blamed on the drink over the past four years.
People seem to already believe too much of something like this could be unhealthy, just as a result of the quick rush and then crash they often feel later.
However, local gas station clerks report selling a lot of the product to consumers.
"They are a great source of energy when you are tired and on the road, and they seem to wear off slower than the energy drinks," said Robert Chambers.
Others who drank the product, marketed as a quick dose of energy, didn't think it was worth it.
My advice would be to stay away from them. There is caffeine in naturally occurring products that are placed in there ... so it might not say it has caffeine, when in reality it does have a lot of caffeine in it.
–Dr. Robert Mehl
"I've only taken it twice and it didn't do much for me," said Steve Mecham.
Dr. Robert Mehl says he has seen a fair share of patients who have complained about a racing heart or not being able to fall asleep after consuming an energy drink.
He's never seen serious complications, but cautions customers to be aware of what they are drinking.
According to the New York Times article, the amount of caffeine in the drinks may not be accurately reported.
"My advice would be to stay away from them," Mehl said. "There is caffeine in naturally occurring products that are placed in there, such as extracts, the green tea extract, so it might not say it has caffeine, when in reality it does have a lot of caffeine in it."
The Food and Drug Administration is already investigating energy drinks that contain caffeine. Because they are considered dietary supplements, the drinks are not strictly regulated.
Mehl believes swallowing an energy drink is not the best answer to feeling more energy.
"Get enough sleep, eat good food, a well balanced diet, and (get) regular exercise," he said. "Those are the things that will keep you healthy and more alert."
The company that produces 5-Hour Energy is disputing the media reports, saying these drinks contain the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee.
However, the statement does caution users to drink no more than two of these in a 24-hour period, spaced several hours apart and not to use them while consuming alcohol.