Kickstart: soda for breakfast

Kickstart: soda for breakfast

Justin English, Staff Contributor

High school students are one of the most exhausted populaces on the planet. They play in sports, deal with large amounts of homework and often don’t make the best decisions regarding their sleep schedule. High schoolers routinely operate on only a few hours of sleep. In order to get by and stay awake in school, many resort to caffeine. For most, this burst of energy comes from coffee.

Pleasant Valley has its own coffee shop that supplies students with their coffee fix. Other students buy coffee from nearby coffee shops, and cups from Coffee Hound and Starbucks are seen throughout the school. For freshmen, this is a slight problem, as according health expert and author of caffeine studies Jennifer Silk states, “I don’t see any reason to give kids caffeine. It’s used to counter fatigue, low mood and anxiety. But it could be causing those things too.”

For older students at the high school, a cup of coffee is not a grave problem. The American Health Association recommends no more than 400 mg of caffeine a day for adults, and a cup or two of coffee falls below that mark. However, a new type of drink more recently has begun to quench high schooler’s energy desires.

The Kickstart mountain dew energy drink has begun to take hold of Pleasant Valley. Marketed as a healthier, less caffeinated alternative to energy drinks like Red Bull, Kickstart only contains approximately 90 mg of caffeine per 16 ounce can. The company also labels the beverage as a juice drink, an attempt to further the image of a healthy alternative. And with only 80 calories per can, that may certainly seem to be true.

However in reality, the idea that Kickstart is a health beverage is far from the truth. The beverage contains only 5% juice, just enough to meet FDA standards to label itself as a juice drink. The low calorie content is fueled by controversial artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and acesulfame potassium. Furthermore, high fructose corn syrup, the drink’s main sweetener, is one of the worst types of sugar one can ingest.

The drink is a synthetic amalgamation of Mountain Dew and Red Bull, masking itself as a healthy alternative. It’s not. The drink is no healthier than soda, and should be recognized as such. Starting your day off with Kickstart is no healthier than starting your day off with Mountain Dew, and students should be aware of this. Of course, Kickstart is a healthier alternative than Red Bull or even more dessert-like frappuccinos. That must be said. But between a normal cup of coffee and a chemical concoction, if health is at all a concern, use coffee to satisfy your needs.