Prime Energy in the FDA dock
Like many Americans, I work out in the mornings, and I love my routine, which starts with a pre-workout drink packed with an invigorating 300 mg of caffeine. The jolt from the caffeine pairs exceptionally well with the chill of early-morning air and the crisp gnarling of a barbell. It's an experience I relish.
Unfortunately, our routine could be in jeopardy, thanks to the actions of Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer.
Schumer is calling for a federal investigation into one such energy drink, and this really should come as no surprise. It's the latest example of the creeping authoritarianism that has been threatening the tenets of American personal liberties for years. The battle has expanded from our rights to bear arms, free speech, and fair trials to the realm of personal consumption and the freedom to decide what enters our bodies.
Earlier this month, Schumer called for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate Prime Energy, an energy drink owned by popular YouTuber and boxer Logan Paul and his colleague Olajide Olatunji, known as KSI. Schumer's argument revolves around Prime's social media influence, particularly its appeal to younger audiences, and the content of its primary stimulant, caffeine.
The crux of this issue lies in the question: should the government have the power to dictate what we can or cannot consume, based on the "potential" harm it could cause?
The key to addressing these concerns lies not in increased governmental oversight and regulation, but in promoting personal responsibility, awareness, and active parental involvement in their children's dietary choices. Investigating Prime Energy today could set a precedent and lead to widespread scrutiny of caffeinated products tomorrow, potentially infringing on personal liberty.
According to the FDA, a healthy adult can safely consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day without negative effects. Meanwhile, Prime Energy contains 200 milligrams per 12-ounce can, well within the safe limit for adults and comparable to many other products on the market.
Investigating Prime Energy's caffeine content opens a Pandora's box. Numerous pre-workout supplements, energy drinks, and even certain coffees contain similar, if not higher, caffeine concentrations. Should we then subject all of them to rigorous scrutiny? Would an investigation lead to FDA rule by executive fiat, where they ban or tighten control on a commonplace substance? It's better to err on the side of freedom than open the door to more abuse of power from federal agencies.
Evidence reveals that countless Americans, including athletes, weight trainers, and avid gamers, regularly consume pre-workout powders with upwards of 300–500 milligrams of caffeine. No uproar has been recently raised against these, nor has the government deemed it necessary to scrutinize them.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against caffeinated sports drinks for children under 12 and recommends that adolescents between 12 and 18 limit their intake to less than 100 milligrams per day. Some studies show that many teens already consume 60–800 mg per day. This seems to indicate a lack of education and doesn't justify wasting tax dollars for an FDA investigation.
Regulating and monitoring every item on the market is an impractical solution that only curtails individual liberty and wastes taxpayer dollars. Instead, our energies should be directed toward promoting personal responsibility, awareness, and parental involvement. Parents, equipped with the right knowledge, can guide their children's dietary choices, teaching them to avoid or moderate caffeine consumption. Given the vast availability of information today, it is more crucial than ever for parents to proactively engage with their children about these matters. Understanding the potential pitfalls of the digital age, including the persuasive power of influencer marketing, is a fundamental step in effectively safeguarding our youth.
The issue here is if we permit federal agencies to start with Prime Energy today, we will have to investigate every caffeinated product on the market tomorrow. This not only infringes on personal freedoms, but also misdirects our efforts from the real issue at hand: the promotion of personal responsibility, awareness, and proper education about dietary choices. If a federal agency launches an investigation, it must have the intent to either create or influence policy around it. So if you enjoy your coffee strong, pre-workout before a lift, or an energy drink before a class, you should oppose this federal overreach.
Parker McCumber is a U.S. Army veteran, entrepreneur, and fitness enthusiast who is a contributor for Young Voices and advocates for individual liberty, personal responsibility, and economic freedom. Follow Parker on Twitter at @Parker_McCumber.