Indiana University Bloomington

Indiana Prevention Resource Center (IPRC)

Lazy Cakes-Don't Relax Until You Get the Facts

The popularity of energy drinks such as Red Bull and Monster which contain a combination of caffeine, B- vitamins and herbs have been on the rise in the past decade, along with controversy about their merits. More recently popular drinks high in both caffeine and alcohol, such as Four Loko, produced wide-awake drunks, causing accidents, injuries, arrests, and ultimately bans on their sale. Turning attention to the other end of the spectrum, another enterprising company is marketing a product to help people slow down and relax. Baked World, the makers of a new relaxation brownie called Lazy Cakes, thinks they have just the product for those hoping to unwind. Lazy Cakes are brownies that contain the naturally occurring hormone, melatonin in its synthetic form. Unfortunately, like Four Loko, this product can be dangerous, in this case especially for children.

Melatonin is sold over the counter in the U.S. and is a common dietary supplement used for jet lag, insomnia and adjusting the body’s internal clock (Medline Plus). However, too much melatonin poses health risks. These include problems breathing due to slowing down of the central nervous system as well as nausea and extreme tiredness. In a recent National Public Radio article toxicologist Anna Rouse Delaney from the Carolina Poison Center stated “eating the whole brownie would be about twice the recommended dose of melatonin.”

The body produces around 0.3 milligrams of melatonin per day and the recommended dosage for insomnia is between 1 and 3 milligrams. One Lazy Cake brownie (two servings) contains 8 milligrams of melatonin as well as valerian root extract, rose hips extract and passion flower.

Melatonin poses serious risks for children. There has been one report of a toddler in Tennessee who was taken to a hospital after eating a Lazy Cake. The National Poison Control Data Center reports that melatonin is the cause for more inquiries than any other herb or supplement with most of the calls concerning children who have accidently taken melatonin. A doctor should always be consulted before giving melatonin to a child.

Of particular concern is the marketing related to Lazy Cakes. They are packaged like any other brownie that could be purchased at a grocery store or convenience store and feature “Lazy Larry” a brightly colored cartoon character on the front of each Lazy Cake.

Legislators in Massachusetts are attempting to ban Lazy Cakes due to the packaging which appeals to children as well as the potential health hazards. Because Lazy Cakes have a warning label that states they are for adults only and that they should not be consumed with alcohol or eaten before driving they are in compliance with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements for legality.

Be smart about relaxing. If you chose to try Lazy Cakes heed the label warnings and keep these treats out of the reach of children. Consider other healthy ways to relax such as exercise, reading and spending time with family and friends.

Resources

Cevallos, M. (2011, May 16). Brownies with melatonin, a.k.a. Lazy Cakes, draw ire of officials. Los Angeles Times, Retrieved from http://articles.latimes.com/2011/may/16/news/la-heb-lazy-cakes-20110516

Rose, J. (2011, March 4). Lazy Cakes Leave You, Well, Lazy. National Public Radio, Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/2011/03/04/134259889/lazy-cakes-leave-you-well-lazy

Calls to ban sleep-inducing ‘Lazy Cakes’ after children fell into deep sleep. The Telegraph, Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/8519413/Calls-to-ban-sleep-inducing-Lazy-Cakes-after-children-fell-into-deep-sleep.html

Lazy Cakes Receive Local Legislators’ Attention. NACS Daily News, Retrieved from http://www.nacsonline.com/NACS/News/Daily/Pages/ND0516116.aspx

By Courtney Stewart,   6/1/2011