Archive for March 8th, 2011

Kids, Energy Drinks Don’t Mix

March 8th, 2011 | No Comments | Source: MedPageToday, Pediatrics

Energy drinks represent the fastest growing segment of beverage sales in the US, with revenues predicted to surpass $9 billion this year. Children, teens and young adults consume at least half of all energy drinks.

Is there a problem with this? Perhaps so, according to the results of a new study. Many energy drinks contain high levels of unregulated ingredients and therefore could pose a health risk to the younger folks who consume them so avidly.

To review the effects and adverse consequences of energy drink consumption among children, adolescents, and young adults, Sara Seifert, of the University of Miami, and colleagues searched PubMed and Google for an assortment of terms including “energy drink,” “sports drink,” “guarana,” “caffeine,” “taurine,” “diabetes,” and “poison control center.” They reviewed the articles they found as well as manufacturer Web sites for product information.

The review suggested that 30-50% of young people consume energy drinks in the US, although there is considerable variation in the types of drinks consumed and the frequency with which they are consumed.

The adverse consequences of energy drink consumption, as documented by the scientists’ review, can be divided into 3 categories: caffeine overdoses, organ system dysfunction and interactions with drugs. Let’s review these briefly:

Caffeine Overdoses
Nearly half of the 5,448 caffeine overdoses in 2007 involved people who were 19 years old or less, the scientists reported. They weren’t able to determine which cases were caused by the consumption of energy drinks, but suggested that it is substantial.

Energy drinks typically contain between 70-80 mg of caffeine per 8-oz. serving, or about 3 times as much as is found in most cola drinks. Since energy drinks are classified as dietary supplements rather than food, producers aren’t required to specify the caffeine content on the label, or the amounts of other ingredients which could add more caffeine. (more…)

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