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Saturday, November 17, 2012


Earlier this year I blogged on Five Hour Energy (FHE) a drink that frightened me.  Well, the Food and Drug Administration this week reported that 13 people have died over the past 4 years from this 2 ounce bottle. Ninety-two others were officially adversely affected, from heart attacks to miscarriages.    But what caught my attention was that in 2009 alone, there were 13,000 trips to the emergency room.  Not surprising at all, for this innocently sold potion kept me tense and awake all night.  Monster Energy Drinks are also being investigated.

Early indications are that caffeine is the problem.  Here is the caffeine content in milligrams per serving in ounces:

Starbucks Grande coffee      16      oz    330
Spike Shooter                        8.4   oz    300
5 Hour Energy                        1.93 oz    207
NoDoz Max                          1 tablet      200
Monster Energy                    16      oz    160
Regular brewed coffee           8      oz     133
Red Bull                                8.3   oz      80
Haagen-Dazs Coffee Yogurt    8      oz     58
Pepsi                                    12      oz    38
Coke Classic                         12      oz    35
Jolt Caffeinated Gum             one stick    33
Hershey Sp. Dk. Chocolate       1.45 oz    31
Hot Cocoa                              8      oz      9
Sprite                                   12      oz      0

Analyzing the above, my sense is that there is something else in these energy drinks that is compounding the effect of the high caffeine, for the FDA classifies caffeine as GRAS (generally recognized as safe). It would take something like 10,000 mg of caffeine to be lethal.

I walked to Chinatown again today.  This is beginning to be a monthly ritual.   The dangerous food comes at the end.  Let me start with some local scenes.  If you ever have snow cones, it is not shaved ice here, but shave ice.

Yes, there are pigeons in Chinatown Honolulu:

I wanted to compare the cost of Dragon Fruit relative to Whole Foods:

For about the same size, about a pound each, Whole Foods = $9.06 and Chinatown = $3.87.  Oh, that other red fruit is rambutan, which tastes like litchi (with a seed the shape of a light brown almond) and costs about 25 cents/each.  Here is what it looks like peeled:

So far so good, but it is said that the skin of the Dragon Fruit is toxic.  However, for the truly hazardous part, I stopped by Royal Kitchen and picked up a bento plate of:

Chow fun (nice and greasy and packed with sodium), roast pork (super high in fat and cholesterol), lup cheong (Chinese sausage, left), about the ultimate in cholesterol, nitrites, etc.) bao (baked pastry) and a custard tart.  This was a mighty tasty lunch.  I live to eat.  After too much apple, papaya, celery and turkey, every so often I must splurge on decadent meals like this.  I might never have this combination again in my life.  Then again....


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