The Reflector keeps going and going
by Reflector Staff
As students attempt to dig themselves out from under the mountain of end of term assignments, the amount of all-nighters and cram sessions are increasing. It is no wonder then, that our generation is inundated with energy supplements and alternatives to help us balance our busy lives and survive the stress that comes with exam season.
We here at The Reflector decided to partake in an experiment to discover exactly how helpful — or in some cases detrimental — popular caffeinated beverages were to our alertness. Hopefully our findings will aid our readers in choosing their late-night drinks.
Five of the editorial staff of The Reflector stepped up to the daunting challenge of consuming a drink intended to increase alertness. Having started this task late in the day, our five subjects were instructed to finish their beverage within half an hour and document their experience. Two editors drank Red Bull, one of the more popular energy drinks, to see if they were affected differently. What follows is the account of an evening at The Reflector office hopped up on energy.
Subject: Gabrielle Domanski, Features Editor
Beverage: Java Monster: Coffee + Energy – Loca Moca flavour
Amount: 444 ml
Caffeine: 90 mg
I’m no stranger to energy drinks, especially since I am an avid procrastinator and come the end of the semester, I drink these puppies like water. I thought I would be the more adventurous one and try the beverage that mixed coffee and energy — double the bang for your buck. With a delicious mocha taste, it was hard to not down my chilled energy companion. In fact, like a coffee addiction, it pulled me in, making me crave more upon completion. Despite the increased pace of my speech and heart rate, and the mild shivering, I definitely felt wide-awake, and at times more focused.
Subject: Kelsey Hipkin, Sports Editor
Beverage: Full Throttle Fury – Tropical flavour
Amount: 473 ml
Caffeine: 141 mg
Imagine fruit punch getting jiggy with Tahiti Treat and you have the sweet and satisfying flavour of Full Throttle Fury. I was feeling quite tired when I drank the Fury and remained that way, although my fatigue masqueraded as giddiness. The drink made me feel anything but alert; I mostly felt nervous and would not have been comfortable operating any type of heavy machinery…I wouldn’t even feel comfortable using a blow dryer. The nervousness, paired with being completely unfocused, has me swearing off of energy drinks all together. I’ll stick with a good old-fashioned sugar high instead.
Subject: James Paton,
Beverage: Red Bull
Amount: 250 ml
Caffeine: 80 mg
When I first tipped back my can of Red Bull, the cold liquid slid down past my tongue straight to my cardiovascular system. Suddenly my mind went through a fit of emotions. One minute I was nervous, and the next very focused on the task at hand. My heart rate jumped from 72 beats per minute to 78 bpm in as little as four minutes after drinking the “natural health product.” I felt much more focused on what I was doing but the “high” feeling wore off after two hours.
Subject: Zoey Duncan
Beverage: Red Bull
Amount: 250 ml
Caffeine: 80 mg
I was crashing fast during the lead-up to the test, and the lukewarm Red Bull has a welcome antidote to my fading concentration. The ultra-sweet citrus flavour isn’t delicious, but the carbonation is more pleasant than throat-burning colas. I definitely felt more alert after the first sips, felt my typing speed up and noticed I wasn’t the only one in the office fidgeting noisily. Eventually, I became distracted. Then, I had to pee; my urine was like a liquid neon caution sign: DO NOT CONSUME MORE THAN TWO CANS PER DAY. Within an hour of opening it, I was no longer feeling a buzz; just a few dainty, Red Bull-flavoured belches.
Subject: Katie Turner, Publishing Editor
Beverage: Good Earth Coffee
Amount: 16 ounces (473 ml)
Caffeine: About 266 mg
While I used to be a coffee drinker, over the last few months I’ve been making the transition to tea. However, for the sake of science, I decided to re-introduce coffee into my system and was quickly reminded of its uplifting effects. In addition, I drink my coffee with a little milk and two sugars, which could have added to the rush. Before my caffeine boost, I was definitely feeling the exhaustion that comes with a long day. Post-coffee, my mood was perked by the percolated substance and I was able to focus more intently. Unfortunately, after about two hours, the exhaustion crept back in, and of course, I was left with coffee breath. I think I’ll stick with tea in the future.
Editor’s note: The effects of such caffeinated drinks differ from person to person based on metabolism, food consumed prior, level of tiredness, and regular patterns of caffeine consumption. In an attempt to be as controlled as possible, the majority of our editors are average consumers of caffeine and are between the ages of 21 and 26.