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Food For Thought Drug Candy
(Entered Mar. 17, 2007)
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It's finally happened. Some company in Japan has cleverly managed to disguise drugs as candy to corrupt unsuspecting kids, and maybe adults too. Remember genki drinks? Well now there's genki candy, but do kids need supplements these days? Can't think of any other reason it would be in the kids candy section.
Thanks to the Japanese candy company UHA Mikakuto, we now have three 'flavours' of their power-up, gummy-candy called 'Aha! Brain'. The flavours, while cleverly disguised to look like grape, orange and lemon, are actually just covers for mysterious ingredients, in this case GABA, BCAA and forskolin. Do you know what these supplements are? What they're supposed to do? Didn't think so, and it's a sure thing kids don't either. So once again I'll subject myself to some chemical testing to see what's going on here.

drug candy

On second glance, the orange coloured box has no relation to oranges at all. Instead it supposedly has the same flavour of a genki drink which I've never seen. On the top of the box it tells you to 'bite and fight!', but before you punch the guy beside you in the face, keep in mind that in Japanese, 'fighto' usually means 'don't give up'. The magical ingredient is something called BCAA which stands for branched chain amino acids. BCAA's are often used by bodybuilders to help them gain muscle mass. Don't confuse them with steriods though, BCAAs are what protein is made of. Still, what does this have to do with brains? Very little it would seem. Tastewise, they're nothing to write home about, kind of like a mediciny genki drink. And the texure when you bite down on them is exactly the same as a rubber band, which is great if you enjoy really rubbery candy.
One thing about Japanse food, it always seems to come with eating instructions, but it was conspicuously absent on Aha! Brain. So how many was I supposed to eat? Should I take one a day? If I ate the whole bag at once would I get high? I decided to pop 5 and see. Perhaps I felt a little more energetic but more likely it was only psychological. Maybe kids are supposed to take them before a workout at the gym?

drug candy

An interesting touch, each box comes with a puzzle to solve. You're given two pictures with one tiny difference between them. The goal obviously is to find the difference. Can you see it? Took me a minute. Not sure if you're supposed to eat the candies first though.

drug candy

The next box says 'bite and get a spark of genius'. I suppose the pacman on the front is supposed to look inspired, but to me it looks more like he's just finished his 10th cup of coffee after playing poker games with the game's ghosts all night. Well what better time to take these pills than when I'm writing this entry? After a good dose, I started plugging away, but before you send me the Pulitzer, keep in mind that my ingenious ramblings are the result of a forskolin induced euphoria. So what the dingdong is forskolin? I'd never heard of it before but it seems to have some connection to aiding weight loss as well as glaucoma. It is also used to help protect the skin from UV light. Nothing about brain power or genius making though. Tasted like lemons this time, but still the same rubbery crunchiness. Is it just me or am I thinner?

drug candy

The last of the three tasted like grapes and said to 'bite and relax'. I also took them when I was writing this article and I think they overpowered the genius ones, because I was too sleepy to finish this....
And now I'm back, the morning after, and feeling refreshed! So perhaps they worked too well? Well maybe it had more to do with the fact that it was midnight, and less to do with the GABA. For those of you in Japan, GABA in this case is not the English school, but an inhibitory neurotransmitter. Might sound pretty dangerous, but actually it occurs naturally in the brain. However, unlike the above two supplements whose promised brain effects seem to be in doubt, GABA does have a direct relation to relaxing the brain. A similar relaxing effect can be had with alcohol or cannabis! Just don't take them before driving, or riding your tricycle.

drug candy

So am I hooked? Am I a supplement junkie? As fun as it may seem to get supplements from candy, I don't think I will be buying any more gummy pills. Next time I want some candy to make me smart, I'll buy a box of Smarties.




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