There is plenty of scrutiny over how safe energy drinks really are, but sales of the caffeine-fueled beverages continue to skyrocket.

Now, it's just college students anymore. Brands are marketing to health food enthusiasts, who have taken notice.

Artist Joseph Cavalieri has never been big on caffeine in any form. That changed when he saw an energy drink at the health food store.

I never drank any traditional energy drinks, Cavalieri said. I liked the idea that it was totally organic.

This new trend has consumers like Joseph buzzing. The drinks promise a cleaner burst of energy with organic ingredients and all natural sources of caffeine - minus artificial colors and flavors.

Consumers are savvy today, said Gary Hemphill of Beverage Marketing Corporation. They read labels and they know what the ingredients are in the products they ingest.

But are these drinks really healthier? Critics are worried that they are just a product of clever marketing.

Caffeine is caffeine, whether it's synthesized in a lab or whether it's synthesized in nature, said Steven Meredith, a health researcher at Johns Hopkins University. It's still going to have the same pharmacological effects when you consume it.

in fact, many versions still pack a potent caffeine punch. Just like regular energy drinks, they are on the FDA's radar.

There's really no scientific foundation, that I'm aware of, that suggests that when you consume one of these types of clean energy drinks, you should feel any differently than when you're consuming a traditional energy drink, said

Joseph plans to watch his caffeine intake.

I'm really sensitive to caffeine, so often I'll just drink half of the can, Cavalieri said.

If you choose to have a clean energy drink, look for labels that clearly display the total amount of caffeine per serving. For most healthy adults, that should be between two and three hundred milligrams, or the equivalent of three cups of coffee, per day.

The FDA is currently conducting an open investigation into the safety of all energy drinks and supplements.

Read or Share this story: