Four Loko Ingredients
What Ingredients are in Four Loko?
Four Loko is an energy drink with a high alcohol content that boasts of a 'kick' of caffeine. Three alumni from Ohio State University created the power drink in 2006 where it was first introduced in Ohio, then Arizona, California and then Illinois by the middle of that same year. This energy drink contains the usual suspects, caffeine and taurine but also adds the kicker of alcohol that is three times that of a regular beer.
According to Law Enforcement Chaplain Rev. Rocky Brown lll of Delaware County, PA., "the drink has brought with it blackout effect's on young people who consume the drink." He even stated that adults have been buying the alcohol based energy drink for minors who stand out front of stores looking to acquire the malt beverage. He assertively called the beverage "legalized liquid cocaine."
Four Loko's Other Ingredients
Prior to launching in the US, the drink line offered a variety of fruity flavors including orange, grape, and watermelon. It usually is packaged in 16 oz. cans compared to the 8.3 oz. bottle in the European Union-Netherlands (the EU version also contains absinthe and is not malt based like the USA beverage, but rather a spirit-based drink). In the USA the alcohol amounts vary from state to state depending on the legal percentage allowed in your state. It can be anywhere from 6% ABV (in Indiana) up to 12% in other states. It is carbonated and contains sugar, natural flavoring and artificial flavoring. The "Four Loko" commercial tag is in reference to the "four " other ingredients; caffeine, taurine, Guarana and wormwood (wormwood is an active ingredient in absinthe).
Recently the 16 oz. can has taken on 7.5 extra ounces (for a total of 23.5 oz.) and is being marketed in the USA as "Four Maxed." This power-house of power-drinks weighs in at approximately 660 scale-tipping calories. Not just a power-house in calories, "Four Loko" ranked fourth in sales growth in 2009, among alcoholic beverages at 7-11 mini-marts located nation wide (Joose ranked #1). The cost of a can of Four is around $3.00.
The federal government has given a short timeline for the manufacturers of these type of energy drinks to provide proof that adding alcohol intentionally does not pose dangerous health concerns. This is due to the hidden intoxicating effect of the high alcohol content. The "King of Beers" had already agreed to reformulate their drinks of this nature back in 2008. Late 2009 the government re-stated their concerns to the smaller companies (like manufacturers of Four products) to, like Budweiser, prove that the addition of caffeine to your alcoholic beverages is recognized as being "generally" safe.
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Some remarks from FOUR LOKO Consumers
- "Legalized cocaine in a can. If you consume Four Loko you can expect to encounter the same results typically associated with snorting a small mound of cocaine. "My dealer isn't picking up? Okay, whatever,.. we'll just get some Four Lokos instead."
- "Perfect for pre-gaming, but can easily result in blackouts and various kinds of embarrassing behavior. Loko is this crazy like alcoholic energy drink that has over 11% alcohol and taste like Hawaiian Punch, all my boyz are gettin' crazy off Four Loko. What kinda alcohol is in Four Loko anywayz? "
Be prepared for the hangover!
Four Loko Hangover
In conclusion, we find Four Loko to be a welcome friend in the hipster and party communities. It dominated the energy beverage market and quickly gained popularity with young adults. Although the hazards of blackouts, crazy behavior, and I imagine wicked hangovers would seem to outweigh its popularity, we don't see this trend showing within the research. Should you decide to try one of these fruity energy giants, be aware of the potential results in behavioral and physical changes...you may want to call ahead for reservations at the local emergency room for oxygen and fluids to help combat the aftermath awaiting you at the end of a Four Loko night on the town.
FOUR LOKO UPDATE
Phusion, the manufacturer of the very popular Four Loko caffeinated alcohol drinks said they will pull the caffeine from its products, removing the blend off the market before the FDA announces the ban against the beverage. They also said in a post on their website that the company will remove the caffeine and two other ingredients (most likely the Taurine and Guarana energy components) from its Four Loko beverages.
Their website post came as the FDA findings reveal caffeine is an unsafe (food) additive when combined with alcohol. That in all reality will ban Four Loko and alldrinks like it. According to Sen. Chuck Schumer, the ruling "should be the nail in the coffin of these dangerous and toxic drinks." Schumer has been fighting long and hard trying to convince the Obama administration to ban the beverages.
Phusion's website statements make it clear that they feel they have little to no choice but to remove the products, even as federal regulators could not confirm Schumer's comments regarding the ban being inevitable.
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