High caffeine energy drinks can be hazardous to health

September 25, 2008 in Healthy Eating, Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Nutrition Topics in the News

High caffeine energy drinks can be hazardous to health
Some energy drinks contain as much caffeine as 14 cans of Coca-Cola - and have no labels warning consumers about potential health risks, say researchers from John Hopkins University in Baltimore.

According to this new report, the caffeine content of such drinks ranges from 50 to more than 500 milligrams. One can (350 ml) of cola contains 35 milligrams of caffeine and one 8-ounce cup (235 ml) of regular Starbucks coffee contains 200 milligrams.

The daily limit for caffeine is set at no more than 400 milligrams.

The researchers say consuming these energy drinks without knowing the health effects of the caffeine content is like drinking an alcoholic beverage without being told if it's beer or scotch.

According to Health Canada, caffeine does not have to be listed on labels unless it has been added to the product separately as a pure substance.

Based on this research, health experts are calling for prominent labels on energy drinks - particular those marketed as performance enhancers and stimulants - so consumers know whether they are getting a little or a lot of caffeine.

Regular use of highly caffeinated beverages can put young people at risk for abusing even stronger stimulants. Caffeine intoxication - marked by anxiety, insomnia, stomach upset, tremors, rapid heartbeats, and (in very rare cases) death - is also a risk associated with drinking these beverages.

Health Canada recommends consumers limit themselves to two cans (500 ml) of Red Bull a day, as indicated on the product label. It also advises against mixing the energy drink with alcohol.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.