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The Glories of Red Bull 248

EnnaH writes "An article on the Times web-site stated that the popular energy drink Red Bull is under investigation in Sweden, after three people died shortly after consuming the drink. I thought that this may interest the Slashdot community, as I'm sure many of us drink a lot of these hyper-caffinated products and Red Bull is available on the ThinkGeek site." From the article itself, it appears that the problem isn't so much the Red Bull as people overdrinking with it and such. Ah, the wonders of nanny states.Update: 07/14 11:36 PM by H :So, for those of you who didn't pick it out - my comment about nanny states isn't one about Sweden - it's about system that try too hard to protect people from themselves. By all accounts, Sweden's a very nice place. *grin*
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The Glories of Red Bull

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    People die from using X? Sounds like FUD from M$.
  • Red Bull isn't the only thing that is controversial.

    Opensource propogandist ESR has also entered the world of dangerous consumables.

    Controversial discussion website [] had an interesting article [] talking about ESR's penchant for the endangered bird, the Puffin.

    Now an endangered species, ESR tasted its flesh and said:

    My entree was a "wild game feast" -- medallions of reindeer, wild goose (Cathy had a wild-goose entree), and puffin. The puffin was the interesting bit; strong-flavored, not unpleasant, but oily.

    The puffin is very closely related to the penguin. Could this Open Source advocate one day be seen chowing down on roast penguin in the wastes of Antarctica? With ESR, you never know.

    I bet he would even drink 'Red Bull'.

  • Interesting - I've been buying those Pretty brown bottles [] at my Favorite Asian market [] for well over a year now, and have been wondering which version came first.

    I like the taste of the Blue and Silver [] version a little better than the brown glass version, but I find the brown glass version gives me a much larger kick, and is MUCH cheaper ($0.70 as opposed to $2.00).

    I never really liked the gold cans [] that much - I think the metal reacts with the contents. (although it does taste a lot better than Shark [])

    Lately, my favorite weekend all-night codejuice hasn't been any of these - it's been a Mr. Brown [] with a splash of George Dickel, and a Taurine capsule...
  • You could always try some Pernod - it's an Absinthe substitute with a lower alcohol content, and no wormwood; but I've heard the taste is pretty close.

    It does the same cool color change thing when it hits water - I used to drink Pernod and water a lot right after I turned 21. I think part of the reason was that I loved to watch the Pernod swirl into the water...
  • A drink that kills people

    You must mean booze. Yeah, who would sell that? Or any form of tobacco.

    is very counter productive to what most people care about, the profit margin.

    Clearly, then, nobody would ever sell an unsafe product. The examples that I can think of, from cars lacking safety features to pharmaceuticals with serious side-effects (and let's not forget, from long ago, lead plumbing and even radium inhalers) must be misinformation planted by The Wicked Nanny State.

  • It's a Jello Biafra spoken word piece, not a Dead Kennedys song.
  • Why?

    The press is already doing enough jumping all over it -- you heard about it, right? If you think that the risk you undergo by drinking this soda is excessive, then don't drink it. But don't pay a bunch of gov't folks to ban the soda so I can't decide to accept the risk and drink it if I want to.

  • And what does any government do after investigating such incidents?

    A ban, of course! If there were a question of a civil suit, it would need to be handled by the families of the deceased; wouldn't be the government's job. It's a rare thing to see a government do a study of something, conclude that it can be harmful, and fail to somehow make it illegal.

  • You're contradicting yourself -- if manufacturers are being routinely sued into oblivion by defective product suits, then they *won't make defective products*, so you won't have to do your own testing!
  • If you find Pripps Blå a bad beer, you should really buy a can of Eurolager to a person that you hate. The taste reminds me of a sweaty horse, sprayed with dwarf piss. Only beer I have hated more is Budweiser because of it's lack of beer taste.

    For a better beer, try Fifty/Fifty (cheap but pretty good) and, of course, the almighty Kilkenny. Having a cold Kilkenny in the summer head is worth almost anything.
  • Oh no, my buddy just ate 10 pounds of Rhubarb Pie, and promptly fell over dead!

    That Rhubarb is mighty bad stuff. I know because I've seen it kill people. Let's Blame Canada and get it outlawed for the safety of the children!

    What? I'm being silly? Okay mister, perhaps you could explain to everyone why you don't want to help the children.

    And on, and on, and on .... *sigh*

  • The whole thing is sampled by Cold Cut on their Let's Play album. Very amusing, though obviously Biafra is on a big ass rant... too easily slipping into the inductive fallacy of the Slippery Slope.

  • > It does the same cool color change thing when it hits water

    According to my first year materials lecturer, that's the "evil esters". They're soluble in water, and in alcohol, but not in most mixtures of the two. So they start dissolved in alcohol, precipitate out when you add water, and eventually dissolve again if you add a lot of water.
    Then we moved onto the phase diagram for carbon and iron, which is rather more complicated...

  • I'm aware of this, really.

    I was simply using his position as the lead singer of perhaps a more widely recognizable band as opposed to something like, say, his bid for mayor. Which was funny as hell...

  • by Ryandav ( 5475 ) on Saturday July 14, 2001 @10:39AM (#84955) Homepage Journal
    "Rejoice Friends! Big Government Is Over.
    A national law, establishing childrens bedtime.
    Betime Patrol! will check up on you,
    (Make sure your bracelets on,)
    The Nanny State, to reach down your pants
    to check and see if you've been moistening yourselves with any unauthorized substance without permission.

    Tag Them! Curfew Them! Keep them down. Keep them at home, to school, to rent a video on the way home, and stay home, just like at work,
    Do not gather after dark. Curfew! It's such a family oriented word. A much more acceptable, smiling, soft word. A much more palatable concept than "Martial Law". Put your bracelets on, you're safer when you're watched...

    Don't go outside, youll set the alarms off..."

    With apologies to Jello Biafra, lead singer of the Dead Kennedies and much more, whose spoken word was set to techno backbeat by Coldcut. Find the MP3 by Coldcut, "Every Home A Prison". (not the toned-down version by Keoki) It ranks about my favorite song ever.
  • ARGH! dammit, i wish i'd said that.
  • The wonders of nanny states, eh?

    Like ones that make possession of marijuana a *criminal offense*?

    What about states that suckhole to corporations, providing obscene tax breaks or environment law loopholes?

    American citizens should be the *last* citizens on the face of the planet to mutter comments about "nanny states."

  • YUM, Redbull and Vodka is the alcohol of Kings. The best stuff ever if you are a supe lightweight like me. You don't feel the booze until it sneaks up and kicks yer arse. Yes children if you too would like a serious case of alcohol poisoning then try my favorite elixer of Redbull and Vodka

  • ... and there are other states where possession of a single viable cannabis seed is a felony worth 10 years in prison (first offence too...) By the way, this is the same state where you can legally wager all your money away on a game you have virtually no chance of winning, and then the same day drive 20 miles outside of town and legally pay a person to have sexual intercourse with you. What a world.
  • Yes, We have some fools running this place.
    The monopoly is pretty good for the people though, the problem is the taxes.

    Having one huge company selling all alcohol can be very useful.
    They have just about everything you could ever want at reasonable prices (if the taxes were lower) due
    to their huge volumes. If the obscene taxes were lowered this would ideal for the consumer.

    Caffeine is probably not a good thing to mix with alcohol or workout. And Red Bull is 320mg/kg ..
  • The difference is that Microsoft is not state owned.
  • I've never had Red Bull, but I encountered a very similar situation you describe after chugging a 20 oz bottle of Jolt way too fast. I was really dehydrated after riding my bike to a 7-11, and promptly bought the bottle and drank it in under 2 minutes probably. Dizziness/blurred vision resulted. My unofficial diagnose .. don't drink any stimulants when your body doesn't have the proper amounts of water in it.
  • They create regulations, mandate tests and send inspectors, increasing your taxes AND the cost of the product.
    Now, think how much more expensive life would be if manufacturers were routinely sued into oblivion by defective product suits, and you could not rely on anything else made by others, and had to do your *OWN* testing for everything you'd EAT because there are no government standards and regulations?

    Knowledge is, in every country, the surest basis of public happiness.

  • I'm just finishing a glass of Red Bull and vodka now

    No problems here, mind you the kat wanssingrtg...f

    .sd grfpdsf

    grfd fg

    lkadsk;/ ,

    s . o. . i

  • "Two of the victims, whose identities have not been released by the Swedish authorities, died after mixing the drink with vodka. The third died after taking several cans after a hard gym session."

    So two morons die because they drank too much alcohol, and the third died probably from over exhaustion. They ingredients from one Hyper-Energy-Super-Mega-Caffiene-Drink to another don't change, they are all packaged in the same strange little can too. Somone else is probably gonna die because the commercials too literally "Red Bull Gives You Wings!" and pancakes himself into a busy intersection. There are over 6 billion people in the world, and as the Darwin Awards have shown, people die from incredibly stupid things everyday. But the drink is a convient scape goat, just like Ectasy gets blamed for everything ever gone wrong at a rave. A drink that kills people is very counter productive to what most people care about, the profit margin. But the media latches on to one thing and makes the entire populace scared to death of something. Energy Transmission Lines? Obviously the work of the devil. Radiation from Cellphones? Again must be the devil. People tend to believe everything they read in print of on a 'respected' website.

  • Or, you could've just given them this link: shtml [], and not only have given them that interesting information about caffeine, but pointed to an excellent site with superb information about practically any drug.

  • A few months ago, there was a Fox News report on Red Bull and alcohol. All day long they were hyping it up... "Tonight at 11... Red Bull and alcohol and how it's endangering your life!"

    Because I occasionally drink Red Bull and vodka (which is trippy because you don't feel tired at all), I made sure to watch the segment which was well placed at the end of the 11 news hour. The startling discovery was that Red Bull and alcohol drunk in large quantities is not good for your heart.

    Course, alcohol alone drunk in large quantities isn't good for your heart--so I chalk most of this up to needless sensationalistic journalism.

    However, anything abused is almost certainly bad (if not fatal) to you.
  • A drink that kills people is very counter productive to what most people care about, the profit margin.

    Heh. Of course, not everyone [] in the soft drink industry cares about their profit margin...

  • - red bull and moonshine (you won't fall down, just get more drunk)

    And techies in Norway drink it... (along whith the above mixes :)

  • Yeah... I've bought it as Kratingdaeng too... In the the small glass 'medicine' bottles. I've heard that the active ingredients are in higher doses than red bull too, but as I can't read the bottle I can't tell for sure.

    Does the trick though, and it's heaps cheaper. about $1NZ as opposed to about $3NZ for a can of redbull
  • The beauty of Red Bull is that the caffeine keeps you just above "stupor" level, so that you may continue to consume alcohol in vast quantites without passing out. Everyone knows that if you're passed out on the floor in a pool of your own vomit, you can't consume any more alcoholic beverages.

    If Red Bull kills the occasional party animal, that makes it no less useful to the rest of us who are still alive enough to drink.

    (Though, I'll be taking it easy on the Red Devils for a while.)
  • Bull. 3 espresso coffee contains about 450mg caffeine.

    2dl RedBull contains about 70mg caffeine.

  • by Pope ( 17780 ) on Saturday July 14, 2001 @10:04AM (#84973)
    Wow, if that phrase isn't flamebait, I don't know what is.

    People died from a specific, related cause. I'd DAMN WELL expect an investigation, which will most likely exonerate Red Bull, and maybe, just MAYBE, give the public some education about when not to drink energy drinks.

    Heck, some kid here in Toronto died after a rave, and the front cover of the paper the next day had a picture of him with his mother's tag line "Please no more deaths!!" You know, because so many people die from using X and going to raves, as apart from the alcohol-related traffic stats.

    I finally got to try out Red Bull on a trip to Chicago 2 weeks ago, and quite frankly can't see what the big deal is other than it being the new trendy thing to do. It tastes like Sweet Tarts candy and has less caffeine per volume than coffee. Honestly, I wish more people would turn on their bullshit detector instead of just following trends.

  • The reason is to avoid waste, the Danes (and other European states) want you to use return systems = bottles. And Denmark being a corrupt place(!) the large breweries like Carlsberg and Tuborg have gotten an exemption for their products

    BTW spelling: Uranium, Natrium/Sodium, Borium Aluminium, a system is not so bad to have.

  • That's right! Red Bull promotes longer life spans! Of all the Red Bull drinkers, only three have been reported dead in national media! Turn to page E-7 and look at all the obituaries of NON-Red Bull drinkers!

  • Canadian immigration policies are working!

    I saw it the other day in supermarket, well, Chinese supermarket. Obviously they immigrate many Asians who like to drink Red Bull.

    Note: I'm also an immigrant, and depend on coffee to survive the hard work of catching up in Canada. Maybe I should try Red Bull. Not with alcohol though.
  • I was under the impression that it wasn't made legal again, they just realised that it was never made entirely illegal and hence started importing it again.

    What did shock me was seeing Absinthe in System Bolaget (Off license/liquer store in Sweden). Now if any European country is going to ban something alcoholic it'll be Sweden :o)
  • I have moved from the UK to Sweden and one thing that did surprise me was the alcohol situation.

    The thing is, you get used to System Bolaget. The selection is genuinely amazing, far superior than anything I ever saw in an off license in the UK. The costs are not too bad either (alcohol is very expensive in bars in Sweden, in System Bolaget it is a bit expensive, but not overly so). They also have a fantastic ordering system. I believe that part of being a state monopoly, if you order something, no matter how weird, they have to at least try to get it for you (this is from other countries, not just for Swedish drinks).

    I do have three problems with System Bolaget. There are not enough of them, the opening hours need to be lengthened and they sell Pripps Blå, quite possibly the most offensive liquid known to man.

  • What is the LD-50 lethal dose of LSD?
  • I just looked in my fridge. The gold cans say Kratingdaeng-L, but about half the bottles say Theoplex-L and the other half are Kratingdaeng-L. I shop at a couple of different markets, so one has Theoplex instead. It tastes the same, and the ingredients appear to be the same. Same company makes it too.

    I like the carbonated austrian version a little better, but for less than half the price, I'll stick with the more potent Thai version. After all, it's the effect that I drink it for, even though it's still mighty tasty.

  • by austad ( 22163 ) on Saturday July 14, 2001 @12:04PM (#84982) Homepage
    As a reader from the country in which Red Bull was invented I would like to toffer some background information.

    You mentioned later in the post you are from Austria. I hate to tell you this, but red bull was not invented in Austria, it was invented in Thailand many years before it ever came to austria. You can still get it in Thailand and many asian markets here in the US. You can get it in 200ml gold cans, 250ml gold cans, and 150ml tinted glass bottles. It's sold under the name Theoplex-L. Go to your nearest asian market and pick some up. The Thai version is not carbonated, but it's less than half the price of the Austrian version.
  • by krakan ( 23581 ) on Saturday July 14, 2001 @10:08AM (#84983)
    Actually the caffeine content is not was is suspected for the deaths. The culprit is instead thought to be taurine which is a substance that regulates the salt levels of the body. That seems to me as a plausible explanation. It is a bit odd that the Times article completely fails to mention it, but maybe it was deemed to be too technical.
  • by chamont ( 25273 ) <monty@fullmon[ ]org ['ty.' in gap]> on Saturday July 14, 2001 @09:50AM (#84985) Homepage
    the energy drink that has become popular among the over-worked and the over-partied

    Over-partied? Certainly this article ended up on the wrong site.

  • Except that sometimes only the dexo-rotary appears naturally, and only the levo-rotary (hope those two terms are right. It's been nine years since organic) can be made. Or vice-versa.

  • by tbo ( 35008 ) on Saturday July 14, 2001 @10:33AM (#84994) Journal
    And I thought that Red Bull was, well, bull. It sounded like just another "energy drink" with a little caffeine and some hippie herbs (ginseng, bat guano, etc). Looks like it really does pack a punch.

    Does anybody know where I can buy this stuff in Canada? ThinkGeek won't ship it out of the US. I promise I won't combine it with alcohol, hard exercise, or viagra.

    Just imagine 30 million angry Canadians hopped up on Red Bull, with hockey sticks and no teeth, bearing down on California to collect the few hundred million dollars they owe us for electricity. Maybe that's why they won't sell Red Bull to us.
  • It is an outrage that the government would investigate a potentially defective product that could be lethal!

    There is an important difference here between defective cars and Red Bull. With the car, you may not know there is a defect, and the manufacturer probably doesn't want you to know, so you certainly want someone (e.g., the government) maintaining some oversight!

    But with Red Bull, the ingredients are on the side, and I have seen warning labels on cans of similar products. You know what it is, and you should understand what you're getting into when you drink it!

    I would rather take personal responsibility over the chemicals I put into my body rather than have someone watching over my shoulder and banning Red Bull, etc. to "protect" me.

  • I felt the need to point out for the masses over here in the USA - the above poster is a bigot. The context is Northern Ireland, and he is promoting the Loyalist / Protestant terrorist "cause" (the opposite side to the pIRA; there are plenty of Protestant terrorists too, they're just not quite so famous over here).

    The "1690" in the signature refers to the Battle of the Boygne, a widely celebrated (by the Loaylists) victory during the British invasion of Ireland under the reign of William of Orange.

    The slogan "FTP" has nothing to do with TCP/IP, it stands for "F*** the Pope".

    It is charming people like this that made otherwise beautiful province of Northern Ireland into a warzone and economic wasteland, a situation from which it is only now emerging; rest assured however that they are in the vast minority, and the majority of people from NI are peaceful and civilized.

    I'd suggest that the poster go and peddle his hatred somewhere else, because it isn't welcome either here or in his homeland.

  • (Btw absinthe + red bull glows flourescent green under ultraviolet light - nice!)

    But then so does plain old lager
  • Ahh, you missed the point - like most people, I'm on NEITHER side of the fence.
  • And what about Thinkgeek, also selling over-cafeinated mints and drinks ?

    -- Pure FTP server [] - Upgrade your FTP server to something simple and secure.
  • Yes, but they don't just investigate and make the results available. They create regulations, mandate tests and send inspectors, increasing your taxes AND the cost of the product. In other words, they assume that the manufacturer is up to no good, and that the consumer is an idiot. I don't believe this, but most do. Hence the nanny state.
  • Natural substances cannot be reproduced

    With all respect, boy does this show you to be full of shit.

  • Absinthe is quite different from Jagermeister, though the flavours are similar.

    Both have had a history of questionable legal status, i believe.

    I can't say much about Jagermeister since i know little about it's history, but i can give some info on absinthe.

    The reasons absinthe was banned are somewhat unclear.

    The whole 'wormwood drives you insane' thing is rather misleading, you would need to drink an amount of absinthe sufficient to induce alcohol poisoning before you would suffer any ill effects from the thujone in the wormwood.

    Prolonged use probably does have some risk attached, but if youre drinking enough absinthe for the wormwood to pose a problem, you've got much bigger problems from the alcohol.

    The 'real' reason for absinthe's toxic effects were the dyes the manufacturers used (back in the day - nobody would risk doing this now) to enhance absinthes typical green colour - these dyes, based on bismuth and other toxic metals probably did drive people insane/made their hair fall out/teeth drop out etc.

    Traditionally, absinthe is poured into a glass, and then ice water is dripped through a spoonful of sugar (using a special perforated spoon) into the glass.

    The cold water, combined with the lowered alcohol content causes the 'louching' effect - where the liquid turns opaque, by precipitating terpenes from the alcohol solution, which were dissolved at the higher temperature/alcohol concentration.

    I don't know much about Jagermeister, having only sampled it once at a friend's house. Jagermeister is slightly more viscous, like a liquer, while absinthe flows like water. - it should, it's typically >70% ethanol.

    Both are herbally-flavoured drinks, chartruese being another type of this drink.

    Not really my favourite drinks, but theyre great when youre looking for something a bit interesting.

  • 90 year old men with heart problems can die from heart attack after an overdose of viagra...

    (Come on, use some common sense, people - just because a chemical can push your body to do mor, doens't mean it can handle it. It's like setting that overclock setting on your motherboard without adequate cooling...)

    -=- SiKnight
  • by smirkleton ( 69652 ) on Saturday July 14, 2001 @12:39PM (#85018)
    Ya ever feel like stuff you read in the news, about the 'dangerous potency' of certain products is actually a result of extremely calculated publicity efforts from guys who know a little bit about urban legendry and guerilla marketing?

    Well you're a dumbass, then, because it happens all the time.

    (holding nose while providing link to a article [] about this very intentionally misunderstood beverage...)

    I'll leave it to those more cynical than myself to accuse VA Linux of engineering this /. story as a roundabout way to drive sales of caffeinated beverages.
  • Hemos wins the Liberterian Intellectual of the Year award. Keep up the good work, at this rate we'll be paying the police out of pocket to investigate crimes.

    I hate to sound so much like an ass, but this Libertarian doublespeak needs to be called on. A techie who's pulled herself from a game of quake for a minute could learn a bit from the American labor movement and how there wouldn't be a tech industry if every five year old was expected to work in a factory instead of going to school.

  • by Speare ( 84249 ) on Saturday July 14, 2001 @11:02AM (#85030) Homepage Journal

    Caffeine is dependency-forming. This is the major reason for adding it to cola drinks: it increases consumer loyalty.

    Caffeine is a diuretic: it removes water and urea from cells and increases urine output.

    Caffeine is a stimulant, only to a point. Once the body has become saturated, caffeine actually acts as a depressant.

    Caffeine, like other stimulants, can help people with ADD, by enhancing the person's ability to focus on a goal instead of being distracted by everything else.

    Normalized Comparisons (USA distributions):

    Drip Coffee (7oz cup): 197-300mg/12oz

    Brewed Coffee (7oz cup): 137-231mg/12oz

    Red Bull (8.3oz can): 115.5mg/12oz

    Espresso (1.5~2oz shot): 100-135mg/shot

    Jolt Cola (12oz can): 72mg/12oz

    Coca-Cola (12oz can): 46.5mg/12oz

    Pepsi Cola (12oz can): 38.4mg/12oz

  • by isaac_akira ( 88220 ) on Saturday July 14, 2001 @12:20PM (#85031)
    maybe they meant LAN parties... Then this is the right site.
  • by gimbo ( 91234 ) on Saturday July 14, 2001 @09:58AM (#85035) Homepage
    Great... Absinthe was only just recently made legal again in Britain. Now I have to worry about not being able to drink it with Red Bull? Gaah!

    (Btw absinthe + red bull glows flourescent green under ultraviolet light - nice!)
  • As has been noted, the effective substance in Red Bull can cause death, if someone was fool enough to consume insane amounts of it. Somehow, I have the hunch that not everything has been told in this case. I wouldn't be that surprised if ecstacy was involved.

    But this piece of news did remind me of a science-fiction story I read. The power of statistics should never be underestimated when doing research on reason -> result field :) This [] is a story any statistician should read :)

  • by Argy ( 95352 ) on Saturday July 14, 2001 @10:53AM (#85038)
    > Bullshit! Taurin does nothing besides tasting strange. The rumours are wrong.

    Even according to Red Bull, you're wrong. From their FAQ: []

    "What exactly is taurine?

    Taurine is a conditionally essential amino acid, which naturally occurs in the body. At times of extreme physical exertion, the body no longer produces the required amounts of taurine, and a relative deficiency results. Taurine acts as a metabolic transmitter and additionally has a detoxifying effect and strengthens cardiac contractility."
  • Apparently it also damages the part of the brain that detects sarcasm. When someone speaks of the 'dreaded FOO' he generally doesn't really dread FOO, but rather wants to mock those who do.
  • by Pollux ( 102520 ) <speter&tedata,net,eg> on Saturday July 14, 2001 @02:17PM (#85048) Journal
    Something that has been scaring me lately is the Red Bull vodka drink. It's becoming quite popular, especially with the "Hang at the bar before I get to my 10-page paper that's due tomorrow" drink. The major problem with the drink is the caffeine-alcohol mix.

    Alcohol -- depressant. Caffeine -- stimulant. Course, I've seen people who've had JD- or Baccardi-Cokes and have been fine, but there's more in Red Bull than just Caffeine that's an energy-booster. I've seen how people get after they've had two or three of them...they get really hyper and sweat a lot, but they lose their stamina real fast (they'll move like crazy on the dance floor but have to sit out after only one song). I'd actually be curious to see an actual study on this combination, because I think it's just a recepie for disaster.

    And get your comparisons a little more in line. Yea, ectasy has gotten a real heavy focus these past couple years, but it's not just because of ectasy. It's because everyone's been an idiot and have been mixing it with alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, speed, and who knows what else. When you mix them like that, that's when "you start seeing angels."

  • by aralin ( 107264 ) on Saturday July 14, 2001 @09:49AM (#85052)
    Well, what can you say! They were warned! Red Bull says in every advertisements that it gives you wings and displays the figures who drink it as Angels. What more they need to say, damn it?
  • Woah - you shouldn't mix it with alcohol? Here in the UK there's a club-night that's run in a lot of university cities called VodBull - you can get a whole load of vodka and Red Bull cheaply (something like £1 for 2 shots and Red Bull before 10pm, £2 afterwards) and every time I've been there people order 6 or 8 at a time and down a couple at the bar because the queues are so big.

    I knew it was bad to go overboard on the Taurin - it says so quite clearly on the can - but I'd never really considered the negative effects of mixing the drinks. And as I typed that last sentence I realised just how dumb that was of me.

    Still, since I graduated I've got considerably less opportunity to go to these things anyway, so I guess I'll live.

  • Thus heart racing appears, rapid breath, swetaing and simialr symptoms ...

    so basically it is like talking to a member of the opsite sex?

  • by legLess ( 127550 ) on Saturday July 14, 2001 @10:33AM (#85060) Journal
    "Ah, the wonders of nanny states."


    1. If several people die after internalizing Substance X, would you or would you not want some competent authority to investigate?
    2. Is it possible for a psychopath to taint food and/or medicinal products with the express goal or killing random people?
    3. Is it possible for a manufacturing error to produce tainted products (e.g. have 10x the indicated caffeine)?
    Also, it's not like Sweden has banned the stuff. What did the Swedish government actually have to say about this? From the 2nd paragraph of the article, which most people (including Hemos) have apparently not read:
    A public warning advising people not to take Red Bull mixed with alcohol nor to drink it after exercise has been issued by Sweden's National Food Administration.
    Most people wouldn't drink Red Bull any differently than they drink Coke or Gatorade. Like it or not, most folks don't know enough biochemistry to determine whether Substance X is safe to internalize under Condition Y. Thus, many countries have government organizations to make this information publicly available.
    Mr Glynn said: "What we have is the suggestion that three people have died after drinking this substance, although there is no hard scientific evidence available on this yet. We will be looking at the death certificates and going through the autopspy reports to identify whether or not there is a link."
    Another quote:
    Red Bull cannot be sold in stores in Norway, Denmark or France because it is classified as medicinal because of its high caffeine content. It could, however, be sold in pharmacies in those countries.
    Nanny states again? There are plenty of substances in this country which are only obtainable at a pharmacy. Why? So that the pharmacist (i.e. someone who's spent years studying the effects of chemicals on the human body) can give you sensible advice: "Don't chug a case of this after a marathon."

    I fail to see anything wrong here. If you really want to talk about nanny states, let's start with China and Afganistan, eh?

    "We all say so, so it must be true!"

  • Slashdot requires you to wait 20 seconds between hitting reply on and submitting a comment.

    Maybe Slashdot should have changed the threshold for that one to about 3-4 seconds, at least for articles discussing heavy caffeine usage.

    ("It's been 19 seconds since you hit 'reply' 47 times!")

  • Amen. I am so damn sick of the constant snivelling about "nanny states" here; I don't have a freaking chemistry lab in my basement, I can't analyze every freaking thing I decide to eat or drink, and I don't have an army of investigators to compile statistics on what can kill you. Three young, healthy people died after DRINKING A CAN OF SODA. I want the government to jump all over this.
  • Natural substances cannot be reproduced, thus you would have to slay a human, suck the Taurine out and put it into a drink.

    That is one of the top 3 crazy things I have ever heard. There are PLENTY of chemicals that occur in nature that can be PERFECTLY replicated by industry.

    Here, buy some taurine [].

  • I think aluminum pop cans have an insanely thin plastic liner inside them. Could be wrong, but I have read that somewhere.

    I think the aluminum health thing was debunked anyway.
  • by IronChef ( 164482 ) on Saturday July 14, 2001 @12:31PM (#85083)
    Don't be a nutter. Just because a chemical is found in meat doesn't mean it is bad. In fact, taurine is ESSENTIAL TO LIFE, veg-head.

    Technically, taurine [] is classified as a non-essential amino acid, but that doesn't mean that it isn't important to human life. It just means that your body has a biochemical pathway for synthesizing it from other compounds. So avoid it if you like; there's still plenty inside you. Avoiding it because it is in meat is just silly. You're meat.
  • by PopeAlien ( 164869 ) on Saturday July 14, 2001 @10:21AM (#85085) Homepage Journal
    I drink a can in the morning everyday, instead of coffee... am I at risk?

    ..That depends.. A can of what? A can of motor-oil? ..A can of Red-Bull?

    As long as you drink it after you've woken up, and as long as your not mixing it with Methyl-Ethyl-Ketones, you're probably going to be OK, but just to be safe you should wait for the Governments approval. This goes for everything in life- Sex, Caffeine, loud music, exercise.. Whatever it is that you want to do, please ask you congress-person for permission first..

  • Whoa, Red Bull is nasty anyway. Tastes like rotting apple cider if you ask me. At my office, we prefer the American programmer's standby, shiny red cans of Coca-Cola! []
  • Are you really serious? How do you buy soda pop from the store - glass bottles?
  • *pulling one out of my fridge*

    ...have no warning about not mixing with alcohol, the only warning of any kind is:

    Not suitable for children and caffiene sensitive persons. Pasteurised.

    and right down the bottom:

    Usage: 5 cans max. daily

    Red Bull is not government approved in any way in Australia, it is imported into Australia via New Zealand under a strange loophole as a "dietary supplement"

    Is there anyone out there who takes Taurine tablets without caffiene? what's the effect? I find other energy drinks do very little for me (V, Lift Plus etc), and none of the others I've tried contain Taurine.

    Caffiene wakes me up a lot, but Red Bull increases my metabolism and makes me hyper-alert. I've been unable to find Taurine tablets so far, so haven't been able to test it myself

  • a lot of information in that article is not quite right. Drinks it says have the same ingredients do not, and warnings supposedly on Australian cans do not exist.

  • on the news in Oz it specifically says caffiene, not taurine. I would Taurine would be a more likely prospect, considering the difference in dosage.

  • This story about three dead in sweden is up in the news everywhere. I read here [] (french) that the red bull has less caféine than tea (in tea bags) but bouah it's far more disgusting. I drank one 2 years ago and I can still smell the awful breath it gave me. pouah never again even if I can fly.

    Other caféine levels :

    Red Bull 286 mg/l,
    XTC en canette, 300 mg/l,
    Smart, 338 mg/l,
    Red Devil, 365 mg/l
    recommended level in the US 200 mg/l
    source : 88994

  • The troble with Red Bull and booze is that caffeine works against the alcohol, so while a overdoze of alcohol will cause your brain to shutdown non-vital functions and put you to sleep :-), before you kil yourself, the caffeine zeros out the effect. The problems here is that the caffeine wears out faster than the alcohol so when the caffeine is gone, the alcohol is still there and your brain will not just shut down non-vital functions in your body but just about everything as well and thereby killing you.

  • My point, Person, was exactly that: Linus is a true programmer, and he is not Swedish. I mentioned the fact that he only speaks Swedish in order to afore-counter any objections people might raise "but Linus is swedish! how can you call them demi-programmers"...he's not swedish, though he speaks a little, and therefore his example does not diminish the force of the phrase "swedes and other demi-programmers". capisce?
  • But if the cool kids don't follow trends, how will they know if they're cool or not?

    Originality is not smiled upon in Red Bull's core demographic.
  • I was in middle school and at the local grocery store they were selling Red Bull at a test price (0.30$). My mom saw sodas for cheap and got some for me. I was 12 at that time. I tasted it. Here are my thoughts/words:
    • It looks like carbonated pee!
    • It tastes like carbonated pee!
    • Well, it really tastes like carbonated gummi-bear juice
    • Mom, that sucks, can you drink it please? and never buy test products again.

    After some years I was in college and there I saw people drinking that stuff in various ways:
    • Fast: because they needed the caffeine and they hated the taste... same as I did with Mt Dew as I came to the US
    • With Vodka. You will be happy all night. And sick the day after.

    3 espresso coffee concentrated in 2dl of carbonated pee... I still prefer coke


  • word. I often bring work home, and don't hisitate to write a little code after a few bong rips.

    I'm guessing that a surprisingly large percentage of tech people use drugs and party just as much as the non-tech people. We're just smarter! ;-)

  • Too much caffiene can seriously mess with your heart. If you have underlying heart problems, this could be a bad thing. Other stimulants will do the same thing. Read the warning labels on workout enhancers like Ripped Fuel. They explicitly warn you that an overdose can cause a heart attack. Definitely something to be mindful of.

  • Those commercials are worth a second look.

    They're much more fey than your usual American ad. And they're loaded with sexual imagery (get a load of Rapunzel's castle), some of it hetero, some of it homo.

    The lip sync is bizarre, too. But I know why. They were made in Europe and dubbed into English. The Euro versions could be saying almost anything, but probably they're just translations of the naff script.


  • A group of Finnish researchers have studied taurine effects in brains( ysiology2_roletaurinebrainregulaglutrec.html []).

    One of the researchers commented their findings on TV when this was first reported earlier this week: "we've injected substansial amounts of taurine to test animals and we've been dissappointed because of the lack of effect".

    In her opionion coffein is much more effective ingredient in Red Bull (no matter what the producer tries to tell you).

  • As a reader from the country in which Red Bull was invented I would like to toffer some background information.
    The main "active" ingredient of Red Bull is Taurin.
    Taurin is a drug, about 30 times stronger than caffeine together with a combination of Vitamines it is able to fill you body with new "Energy", whereas the Taurin actually only is a helper substance to quicker spread the active ingredients of the Vitamines and aid in the production of sugar. Originally Taurin has been found as an effective drug for encephalitic syndrome, cataract and glaucoma. It is also useful as a neuro-modulator and neuro-inhibitor of the central nervous system. As such it could be effectively used as an anti-convulsion drug.

    However, if you consume too much of The substance you will get the opposit of the desired effect, being such a strong stimulator it can stimulate the body to fall into a shock like state. Thus heart racing appears, rapid breath, swetaing and simialr symptoms whihc _can_ lead up to death.
    Taurin levels in red Bull are limited to the countries maximum allowed amount, which is limited in the country itself where Red Bull is manufactured. For example in Germany the original recepee may not be sold, it would fall under the narcotics law in germany.

    Many people also do not head the warning printed onto the cans, which explicitly states, that you should _not_ ever mix red bull with alcohol, due to the fact, that youw ould be mixing a strong stimulating neuro drug with it as well.
    Mixing the two can cause bad damage to the liver, due to some reaction between the active ingredients of the Taurin or better its Glycin Bile acids with the alcohol.

    I do not work for Red Bull, nor do I wish to promote their product, but since it has been sold here in austria no issues with it have been reported by the media and when you are consuming a drink, which explicitly states, thaty ou should consume it in a sane way and you do not heed the warning, then something is wrong with you in the first place.
  • Those people could've already had problems anyways. Maybe for some, caffine was NOT the thing to be having (i.e. HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE).

    It's like when those people are shocked that some 92-year old man drops dead from overexertion from using Viagra. It wasn't the viagra that killed him, just the built-up horniness that has been brewing for 45 years, all being released in a week.

    Besides, sh!t happens, and without caffine I'd probably...

    fall asleep right here.
  • by SumDeusExMachina ( 318037 ) on Saturday July 14, 2001 @09:54AM (#85156) Homepage
    Ah, the wonders of nanny states.

    Yeah, those damn nanny states, always butting into our lives! Why can't they leave me and my company alone so that we don't have to spend money on fixing the gas tanks on our products so that it stops killing customers?

    It is an outrage that the government would investigate a potentially defective product that could be lethal!

  • by Marcus Brody ( 320463 ) on Saturday July 14, 2001 @11:06AM (#85157) Homepage
    If caffine was just recently discovered it would likely have laws regulating it...

    And if alcohol was just recently discovered it would undeniably be a Class A drug.

    It's funny that the Thai drink red-bull is under investigation, when Alcohol causes thousands of deaths world-wide every year but is still perfectly legal in most non-islamic countries.

    Right. I'm off for a pint...

  • Exactly. It would probably be illegal. But it's not, and so, it's I think the only stimulant drug that can be sold in supermarkets and to children, and advertised without limits or warnings. Wait a bit and we'll see drinks with still higher concentrations of caffine. After all, stimulants are always in strong demand.


  • About my sig. It's from Marguerite Yourcenar's "Memoirs of Hadrian". Rome emperor Hadrian finds life at the top to be a little bit harder than expected. There was no place in the sig to put author or work :o(


  • The funny thing is, when I refreshed to read this story, the "Red Bull" ad was up in the banner slot, telling me to drink! :)
  • by MarkusQ ( 450076 ) on Saturday July 14, 2001 @10:31AM (#85172) Journal
    Why can't the press learn a little baysian reasoning []?

    It isn't that hard to figure the expected death rate among red bull drinkers (expected death rate w/o Red Bull times % of population drinking Red Bull), and ask yourself, is what we are seeing higher than we'd expect? I'll bet it's not.

    It would be very odd if no one who drank Red Bull ever died. But for some reason our culture always treats death as an annomoly, which must therefore have a proximate cause.

    In the longterm, the per capita death toll is exactly 1.

    -- MarkusQ

  • by MarkusQ ( 450076 ) on Saturday July 14, 2001 @06:08PM (#85173) Journal
    I don't know what your culture is, but here in Scandinavia, it is not normal for young, healthy people to suddenly just die.

    If you put aside the question begging terms (e.g. "healthy"), it certainly is normal for people to die at all ages. If everyone lived to be 79.5 years old and then suddenly just died, that would be weird. We don't like to think about it, but young people do in fact die.

    The problem with terms like "healthy" is that they smuggle in assumptions. You, for example, clearly assume that the set of all healthy people does not include anyone who is going to drop dead in the next twenty four hours or so. While I admit that it is unlikely for any particular healthy person to drop dead, it must happen in some cases. (Or, if you absolutely refuse to accept that, then you must admit that these people weren't healthy when they got up that morning, because in fact they did die, which would contradict your definition of "healthy". You can't have it both ways.)

    So the question here is, do a larger fraction of the people in a given condition die if we look only at those who drink Red Bull vs. the whole set. Otherwise the logic is as vapid as saying "Three people with hair died, therefore hair kills people."

    -- MarkusQ

  • ...especially when you consider that the LD50 of caffeine is 10 grams. In other words, ten grams of the stuff will kill 50% of the people who ingest it. That does not mean 25% of the people who drink a sky rocket will die (it's not a straight slope) but it can't be good for you.
  • My brother and I used to drink a can or two each day, normally in the morning because it gives you a quick sugar-like rush and would help wake you up. I even drank a few bulldozers (the red bull/vodka mixed drink) and it never seems to effect me anymore than normal alchohol.

    Anyway, soon after my brother started drinking red bulls he began getting periods of dizziness/blurred vision while driving his car! It happened at least 4 times before we figured out it was the red bulls (He/I figured he was stressed, sick or else).

    On the way back from a long 4 hour drive he drank a red bull in the car and maybe 30 mins later he had another blur/dizzy spell (NOT good while driving in heavy traffic on the freeway). I had to basically steer the car for a minute or two while he was immobilized.

    I commented maybe it was the red bull, so he stopped drinking them... it's been 6+ months and he's never had another dizzy spell.

  • by A Commentor ( 459578 ) on Saturday July 14, 2001 @09:54AM (#85178) Homepage

    How ironic that Think Geek's Caffine ad showed up on the same page as this article..

  • Well, i'm a techie and i get completely fuckfaced on the weekend, and not seldom on weekdays.. As a matter of fact i'm drunk right now!
    Not on battery though..
    Here in norway we had some silly-bitch-can't-take-his-drink-and-almost-died-g uy on the front of the newspaper, just because he drank battery and vodka, that's news?

    Damn, no wonder i'm shying more and more away from tv and papers..

Disks travel in packs.