I remember when I was in basic training our Drill Sergeants told us to save our 'Sanka-Instant Coffee' in order for us to eat on it as we did our final 12 mile road march at Fort Jackson. I thought it was silly, but as we went into our 72 hours of barely sleeping days, it was almost a necessity to stay awake.
12 years later,...I have seen Mountain Dew, Jolt, Red Bull, Rip-Its, Tiger, and now Monster become a staple for the Joe and the Officers. No longer is the coffee pot the only meeting ground for discussion about upcoming missions but 50 ft from a public building where you will see a gaggle of cigarettes and the latest ridiculously over-sized Monster drinks. It doesn't matter what time,...0800 to 2330...it really doesn't matter.
I do drink my share of caffeine. I have my several cups of coffee before lunch, but that's where it stops. I tried a couple of Red Bulls, and at 35 I could feel my heart race and I couldn't even read because my eyes were jumping so much on the page. I have no idea what happens to these guys who are drinking 3 or 5 Red Bulls or Monsters throughout the day.
Now, the only thing that I have noticed is the overwhelming majority of soldiers/officers do complain about problems sleeping. Is there a correlation to this? I think its a no brainer.
Bottomline: Nutrition plays a vital role in how we live and relate to those people around us. I am not sure what the infatuation is with being constantly strung out on Energy Drinks? But I think its pretty clear that our bodies are not indestructible. Moderation is the key. I enjoy a good cup of coffee, and a bowl of pipe tobacco,...but I don't depend on them for who I am or an added boost to make it through the day. Once the 'whatever-it-is' becomes a 'have-to-have',...it may have crossed a fine line.