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  • The Phoenix would like to thank the Assistance League of Los Altos for their valuable donation to keep our newspaper running. With their assistance, we will be able to print quality issues that reflect the interests of Fremont High School and the wider community.
The Student News Site of Fremont High School

The Phoenix

Panera charged for lemonade

Graphics by Beatrice Levine

Many FHS students are familiar with Charged Lemonade, the energized beverage by Panera Bread, launched in 2022. Charged Lemonade is very popular, especially among students, as the high caffeine content can help with studying, homework and other activities. 

Many FHS students are a part of Panera’s “Sip Club,” a membership offered by the store in which members receive unlimited free drinks and refills for any of the coffees, fountain drinks and Charged Lemonades. Despite its utility for students, the drink itself holds a great deal of risk for consumers; the caffeine concentration can be unhealthy and dangerous, especially for young people. 

Panera Bread Bakery-Cafe describes Charged Lemonade as the “ultimate energy drink.” They claim that the “clean caffeine” used in the drink is sourced from green tea extract and guarana, an Amazonian plant — as opposed to coffee beans — providing a cleaner source of energy than their Cafe Blend Dark Roast Coffee. 

The corporation also claims that the two drinks have the same amount of caffeine, which is a potentially misleading statement since the sizes that Panera offers for coffee vary from those of the Charged Lemonade; a large Cafe Blend Dark Roast Coffee is 20 ounces while a large Charged Lemonade is 30 ounces. A large Panera Cafe Blend Dark Roast Coffee contains 268 milligrams of caffeine, while a large Panera Charged Lemonade contains 390 milligrams of caffeine — over 100 milligrams more. 

A healthy caffeine intake is reported at 400 milligrams, according to the FDA. Furthermore, with many FHS students taking advantage of the Sip Club benefits, their consumption of more than one large Charged Lemonade results in their going well over the recommended intake of caffeine.

Panera was subject to a lawsuit in late October 2023, after Sarah Katz, a college student with LQTS — a heart condition that causes fast and irregular heartbeats — went into cardiac arrest and died while being transported via ambulance after drinking the beverage. She was a member of Panera’s Sip Club so the amount of Charged Lemonade consumed is unknown.

This controversy alarmed FHS students greatly, especially those who routinely consume Charged Lemonade to improve their studying habits. 

“[The death] was super eye-opening in terms of how dangerous Charged Lemonade could be in terms of its caffeine levels because I had no idea how much caffeine was in that,” FHS senior Carmel Ben David said. “It’s still really good and it’s a really good source of caffeine. Being a senior in the middle of college applications is crazy though, and I’d say I normally drink anywhere from one to three cups while studying.” 

According to a study published by UT Health Houston, caffeine consumption is especially dangerous for youth as their underdeveloped brains are more sensitive to caffeine intake. Doctors recommend that teens limit themselves to 100 mg a day. Many FHS students also visit the restaurant itself, enjoying the ambiance and study space that it offers. Despite the use of the cafe as a study space, the closeness to the potentially harmful drinks is a huge risk factor for many students who frequent the establishment.

“I like the atmosphere and the fact that you’ll always see people you know while studying there because it’s not your typical cafe, it’s more like a restaurant that everyone just happens to study in,” FHS junior Josielene Delacruz said. “I think I like the atmosphere rather than the fact that they have Charged Lemonade, although being there will probably make me drink some of it.”

Due to teens’ lack of understanding of the dangers of caffeine, having caffeine so readily available at high doses is especially dangerous. These dangers affect much more than just a teenager’s brain, according to Michigan Medicine.

“Many people who are addicted to caffeine and drink a lot of caffeine have some problems, for example, having difficulty sleeping, or they may have anxiety, or they have palpitations their heartbeat goes so fast,” FUHSD district nurse Parvaneh Sanaeinourani said. “This is the side effects of drinking or taking a lot of caffeine in the daily diet. This is another problem. It causes dehydration, even if they drink a lot of liquid.” 

The impact of caffeine on an individual largely depends on their intake. Someone who goes over the recommended amount of caffeine will experience more harmful effects than someone who stays under the recommended amount, even though the effects are always there.

“For the caffeine in adults, normally the amount four to five cups a day, it will be about 400 milligrams of caffeine for a day,” Sanaeinourani said. “I found [Charged Lemonade] has a lot of caffeine, about 390 milligrams, it’s the almost maximum dosage of the caffeine a person can drink. And drinking everyday for a long time it will be harmful.”

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About the Contributors
Malena Andrade
Malena Andrade, Staff Writer
Malena Andrade is a freshman and Staff Writer. In her free time, she likes to read romance and horror books and listen to songs from the my little pony movies. She is also a huge musical theatre fan and is currently taking stagecraft.
Beatrice Levine
Beatrice Levine, Managing Editor
Beatrice Levine is a senior and co-managing editor of the Phoenix for the 23/24 School year. In her free time, she likes playing with her cats, playing field hockey, and studying at Panera.

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  • Amy ~ May 17, 2024 at 9:11 am

    I think it’s crazy people sue over everything today
    Are they going to go after all the energy drink companies because they choose to drink several cans a day
    We are aware it’s our choices it’s no one else’s fault it we over indulge in these products
    I hurt for the family but no doubt they were aware of their intake

  • Kat ~ Dec 19, 2023 at 10:14 pm

    I work for panera and they should pull the drinks and not sell them.

  • Kimberley Kogiones ~ Dec 18, 2023 at 11:31 am

    I think this is as ridiculous as the woman who held hot coffee in her lap, then sued McD for it being too hot. You get an energy drink knowing what it is for. You should really get checked out before you start taking it like any other medicine or drug. Why not go after Red Bull or other various companies? This is a matter of personal responsibility. You are making the decision or taking the risk. In other words, you can’t blame the gun for the weak minded shooter.

  • Anonymous ~ Dec 17, 2023 at 11:28 am

    Uuj ok h I hluliij I’ll imp Jill lol lol lol look minim loop

  • Elias ~ Dec 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    I love the charged lemonade. It’s the best healthiest caffeine drink ever to hit the market. If people with health problems and heart conditions didn’t consider that caffeine in general is bad for them and failed to recognize the high levels of caffeine the drink had and still chose to go ahead that’s on them, not on Panera