WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Originating in Japan in the late 1990s, energy drinks became a hit in the U.S. as “dietary supplements” under the Food and Drug Administration, meaning products are allowed to be sold without revealing the ingredients.
- In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a warning that those drinks have “harmful effects” on the “developing neurologic and cardiovascular systems” in children.
- Despite being linked to multiple deaths, tight regulation of energy drinks in the United States has not been seriously implemented.
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver started a crusade in January advocating the ban on energy drinks among children, calling on Prime Minister Theresa May and the British government to ban them for kids below 16.
“A typical energy drink contains 27.5g of total sugars in one 250ml can—equivalent to almost seven cubes of sugar,” Laura Matthews, Oliver’s head of nutrition, said on his show, Friday Night Feast. “This is more than a child aged 7 to 10 should consume in a whole day!”
Oliver’s campaign prompted three major supermarket chains in the U.K. to announce that they would now ask for identification from people buying energy drinks and would not sell to anyone below 16.
As sales of energy drinks soared in the U.S., so is its health risks. In 2005, a toxicologist traced 4,500 caffeine-related calls to poison control, half of them involving individuals under the age of 19. And in 2011, poison control centers reported deaths in children including a 14-year-old girl who died after drinking from a caffeinated energy drink. Her cause of death was reported as “cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity.”
In 2013, eighteen doctors and public health experts called on Margaret Hamburg, FDA Commissioner at the time, to urge Red Bull, Monster, and similar companies to label their products and issue proof that the drinks are not harmful to children.
But those companies just changed the classification of the drinks from dietary products to beverages. And since those products were now classified as drinks, potentially harmful side effects or death need not be disclosed.
The World Health Organization released a study in 2014 stating that “increased consumption of energy drinks may pose danger to public health, especially among young people.”
The UN agency recommended that countries control caffeine levels in drinks and implement rules against young people purchasing them.
“Policy-level restrictions on access and availability are the most effective ways to change health risk behaviors,” Dr. Amelia Arria, the director of the University of Maryland’s Center on Young Adult Health and Development Aria told Yahoo Lifestyle. “We’ve seen it with tobacco; we’ve seen it with alcohol. Those environmental-level interventions are very effective at reducing risk.”
Source: Yahoo Lifestyle