Contact: Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins
University of Montreal
Energy drinks: The coffee of a new generation?
Universite de Montreal nutritionist warns of the dangers of energy drinks
February 5, 2009 – It's not uncommon for students to consume energy
drinks to increase their concentration as they study throughout the
night. "Energy drinks are the coffee of a new generation," says
Stéphanie Côté, nutritionist with Extenso, a Université de Montréal
health and nutrition think-tank. "These drinks are made up of sugar and
caffeine and can have a negative impact on health."
to a 2008 report by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 1.5 billion cans
of Red Bull were sold in the United States in 2004. Consumption in
Canada is said to be comparable and it is a growing trend for 18-to
24-year-olds. This market segment is broadening as younger children are
beginning to consume these drinks before doing physical activity.
these drinks aren't recommended to either athletes or children under
the age of 12. "Energy drinks don't hydrate the body efficiently," says
Côté. "Because they have too much sugar. And caffeine doesn't
necessarily improve physical performance. In high quantities it can
increase the risks of fatigue and dehydration."
studies have demonstrated that strong doses of caffeine can increase
hypertension, cause heart palpitations, provoke irritability and
anxiety as well as cause headaches and insomnia. Health Canada does not
recommend consuming more than two cans per day.
But many young
people do not respect this warning. Furthermore, close to 50 percent of
18 to 24-year-olds claim to consume energy drinks mixed with alcohol.
Vodka Red Bulls are in vogue despite warnings against the mix.
when someone consumes too much alcohol, their head spins and they feel
tired. Energy drinks cancel out these warning signs," explains Côté.
"The person feels good and therefore keeps drinking without realizing
they are drunk."
On the Web:
About the Université de Montréal: www.umontreal.ca/english/index.htm
English adaptation by Marc Tulin; original French story by Dominique Nancy can be consulted at http://nouvelles.umontreal.ca/recherche/capsule-science/doit-on-sinquieter-de-la-consommation-de-boissons-energisantes.html
International press attaché
Université de Montréal