Let me start out by saying I can’t consume caffeine. It gives me heart palpitations and makes me feel jittery. However, I understand that there are scores of people out there who depend on a caffeine fix to get them going in the morning and keep them up late at night. I get it. I really do. That said, I am not a fan of Kraft’s new MiO Energy liquid water enhancer — and for a few reasons.
First, and most important caffeine is a drug. Sorry, folks, but it is. And being able to buy a bottle of flavored caffeine seems sort of dangerous. Sure, someone could down three or four cans of Red Bull or a pot of coffee, but they are going to be limited by the size of their stomach. It’s not easy to drink ounces and ounces of liquid. Not without getting a stomach ache, anyway. With MiO Energy, however, you get 60 mg of caffeine or about what you’d find in a cup of coffee in one “squirt.” But here’s the rub: It’s very easy to put three, four, or even five squirts of MiO in an eight-ounce glass of water, essentially upping your caffeine intake without adding any real bulk to your stomach. According to the company’s website, the 18 serving bottle is a mere 1.62 fluid ounces! Meaning you could drink 18 servings of caffeine very easily in a single glass of water as long as you didn’t mind the super-concentrated taste. In an uninformed consumer’s hands or even worse, a kid’s hands? Well, it could be dangerous. And it’s not just me. I recently read a Slate.com article that called for a ban of all caffeinated beverages to kids — especially in schools. From the Slate article:
According to a 2011 paper on health effects of energy drinks on children, children shouldn’t have more caffeine than 2.5 milligrams per kilogram per day; since the FDA limits 71 milligrams of caffeine per a 12-ounce can of soda, that’s about one soda a day, not a soda plus a couple of shots of MiO Energy.
Seems like kids have already gotten the message that MiO Energy is a great party drink, too. If you go to the MiO FAQ you’ll see a telling question: Can I mix MiO Energy with vodka. To Kraft’s credit, it discourages the behavior: “We strongly advise against it. MiO Energy contains caffeine and studies indicate that consuming caffeine with alcohol can lead to unsafe behaviors. Please don’t try it.” The FAQ also cautions against giving MiO Energy to kids or mixing it into Coke.
The second problem I have with MiO was well documented in my last post about the product. Here’s what Kraft says about its ingredients: MiO is sweetened with sucralose, a calorie-free, artificial sweetener that is 600 times sweeter than sugar. To maintain color and freshness, MiO does use certain preservatives and artificial colorings. Ugh. And the Energy version also has guarana and ginseng as well as vitamins B-6 and B-12.
Finally, I have to say it: The stuff tastes like chemicals. I decided it’s not cool to bash something without actually trying it. (Besides, I got quite a few comments from readers saying the stuff was yummy.) Not sure what they were tasting, but I disagree wholeheartedly. Me? I’d rather grab a plain glass of water or, if I didn’t mind the palpitations, a cup of coffee. They are both cheaper and taste a lot better.