Monster Energy's 'Satanic' Plot to Promote Sugar Consumption?

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It's time for another installment of the "Health Ranger Chronicles," where we critically examine the strange ideas promoted by Mike Adams' wildly popular website Natural News. This time we investigate a story about Monster Energy's "Satanic" plot to poison our children with sugar and caffeine.

Activist groups have attacked all sorts of alleged villains for undermining public health—Big Ag and Big Pharma being the two most common punching bags. Natural News, founded by our old friend Mike “the Health Ranger” Adams, has taken things to the next level, accusing Monster Energy Drinks of colluding with Satan himself to hook unsuspecting consumers on sugar and caffeine:

By now, most health-conscious consumers know that most energy drinks are loaded with sugar and/or artificial sweeteners that are bad for your health. But what if the health carnage runs much deeper, on a different level, from drinking the likes of Monster Energy drinks? Take heed of what you are about to read ... America is being overtaken by Satan worshipers at every level ...

This is either Andy Kaufman-level expert trolling or pure insanity. The joke's on me if it's the former, but given Mike Adams' track record and the comments on the article, I'm willing to bet that the writers at Natural News and many of their readers truly believe this story.

Whatever the case, there's an opportunity here for a good science (and history) lesson, so let's take advantage of it. There is no reason to think that energy drinks are especially harmful, nor that there is a satanic conspiracy afoot to foist them on the public. Natural News in quotes, followed by my commentary.

Let’s take a really close look at the Monster Energy drink logo … First, there is a gap in the letter 'M' at the top. It’s not connected. The 'M' in Monster has a short top, and a long tail, just like the letter 'vav' in Hebrew, that also represents the number 6, which means the 'M' in Monster is another symbol for '666' that’s embedded on every Monster can, the number of the beast in the Book of Revelation.

As a Christian myself, I found this assertion strange for two reasons. First, the “number of the beast” from Revelation, the final book of the New Testament, may actually be “616,” according to biblical scholar Daniel B. Wallace. The earliest manuscripts of Revelation that have survived from antiquity disagree on this detail. Whichever number is original, “the beast” is almost certainly a veiled reference to the Roman Emperor Nero, who died in 68 AD.

These historical facts seem to undermine the conspiracy theory. But maybe Natural News really is on to something. We've seen satanic tomfoolery in popular culture before. Remember the classic spin-the-record-backward story? 100 percent correct. Consider the incontrovertible video evidence below.

Deadly devil beverages?

What about the drinks themselves? Is there any evidence that they're uniquely harmful?

The true evil lies in the sugar in these monstrous energy drinks. Some of the larger cans contain over TWENTY teaspoons worth of sugar, causing blood sugar levels to drastically spike, then drop off later in major 'crash' form. One 16 fl. oz can of Monster Energy contains 54g of sugar, totaling over 200 calories. Do that every day and it’s not soon thereafter that you’re battling “beastly obesity.” The Devil’s in the details.

You can employ this sort of scaremongering with almost any food. For example, a dried fig contains 47.7 grams of sugar and 249 calories. The Gospel of Mark reports that Jesus cursed a fig tree. Coincidence? Obviously not; figs are the devil's dessert and should be avoided at all costs.

Snark aside, the point is that anything we consume can be harmful in large enough quantities, including sugar-laden figs. Figs contain fiber, which moderates their impact on blood sugar, but it'd still be unwise to eat them by the pound. The same logic applies to energy drinks. If you consume enough of them, say four large cans daily for two years, you may end up with heart and kidney failure. So, moderate your intake and you'll probably be just fine.

Cancer loves sugar. It thrives on glucose. It’s the ultimate fuel for cancer proliferation, type 2 diabetes and kidney disease. Then comes tooth erosion. Plus, artificial sweeteners are known to cause irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic headaches, nervousness, anxiety, and wait for it… weight gain.

There's likely some relationship between very high sugar consumption and some cancers, but it's more complicated than Natural News lets on. The Mayo Clinic notes that exposing cancer cells to sugar doesn't speed their growth, nor does depriving them of sugar slow their growth. And, of course, all sorts of cells can use glucose as energy.

Artificial sweeteners get a bad rap. Some people who consume them may experience a variety of symptoms, though this doesn't prove the sweeteners are to blame. Moreover, there is quality evidence showing that artificial sweeteners do what they're supposed to; clinical studies have found that drinks sweetened with sugar substitutes can aid weight loss efforts. Natural News had nothing to say about this research, of course.

Devilish collaboration or not, Monster Energy Drinks won't kill you unless you consume an ungodly number of them. "Everything in moderation" remains useful advice—except when it comes to reading Natural News. You're probably better off abstaining from any content Mike Adams publishes.