A variety of energy drinks are available; the skinny "bullet" can shape is popular. Credit: wikipedia.
Wednesday Sep 24, 2008 (foodconsumer.org) -- Johns
Hopkins scientists published a report in the journal Drug and Alcohol
Dependences this month saying energy drinks should carry a label to warn
consumers of the potential health risks from caffeine.
"The caffeine content of energy drinks varies over a
10-fold range, with some containing the equivalent of 14 cans of Coca-Cola, yet
the caffeine amounts are often unlabeled and few include warnings about the
potential health risks of caffeine intoxication," said Roland Griffiths,
Ph.D. co-author of the report.
Energy drinks has an estimated $5.4 billion business each
year in the United States and the sales are expected to expand at a rate of 55
percent annually, according to a press release by Johns Hopkins Medical
The products are often targeted at teens and young adults
and promoted for its performance-enhancing and stimulant effects. Without
labeling, consumers drink it without knowing how much caffeine they are
ingesting, Griffiths said.
Caffeine if too much is ingested could cause a condition
called caffeine intoxication with symptoms including nervousness, anxiety,
restlessness, insomnia, gastrointestinal upset, tremors, rapid heartbeats
(tachycardia), psychomotor agitation (restlessness and pacing) and even death.
A 2007 survey showed that of 496 students using energy
drinks, 29 percent reported 'weekly jolt and crash episodes" and 19
percent reported heart palpitations after using energy drinks. Some people may
mistakenly think energy drinks can offset the effect of alcohol and use a
combination of energy drink and alcohol and then drive, which is a danger.
The report says an energy drink can contain 50 to more
than 500 milligrams of caffeine compared to 35 mg in a 12-ouce cola drink and
80 to 150 mg in a 6-ounce cup of coffee.
The question is, do we have to put a label on coffee and
cola drink if energy drinks are required to carry such a label?
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