Energy drinks: What’s the evidence?

A recent briefing paper written by UK researchers has reviewed the worldwide evidence on energy drinks and their impact on health, and suggests possible measures for local and national authorities in the UK.

Sales of energy drinks in the UK increased by 155% between 2006 and 2014. A European surveying involving 16 countries showed that 68 per cent of adolescents (ages 11 to 18) and 18 per cent of children (age 10 and under) consume energy drinks, with 11 per cent of adolescents and 12 per cent of children drinking at least 1 litre in a single session.

Consumption of energy drinks has been associated with a range of health effects including headaches and sleeping problems. Consumption of energy drinks is also associated with risky behaviours such as binge drinking and drug use.

While the UK government has already announced a tax on sugary beverages as a step towards tackling childhood obesity, energy drinks contain high amounts of caffeine as well as sugar. A single can of popular brands on the market can contain around 160mg of caffeine, while the European Food Safety Authority recommends an intake of no more than 105mg caffeine per day for an average 11-year-old.

The authors of the paper propose legislation against the sale of energy drinks to under-16s and a ban on marketing targeted at children as well as in-school interventions as a means to reduce their intake.

safefood recently conducted research which assessed the current energy drinks situation in the Republic of Ireland.

Posted: 21/07/2016 15:53:20 by Laura Keaver


 

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