THE RISKS OF ENERGY DRINKS CONSUMPTION
More and more people consume energy drinks. In France, between 30% and 50% of teenagers and young adults consume these drinks. However, a lot of health associations claim that some of the components can be dangerous at high dose :
- Caffeine – Energy drinks contain a 4 or 5 times higher caffeine rate than sodas
- Taurine – A very high concentration in energy drinks
- Glucuronolactone – Sugar
The consumption of these ingredients in high quantity can bring a lot of side effects. Indeed, some health issues have been observed in regular consumers of energy drinks, just like convulsions, tachycardia, high blood pressure, diabetes, or even sleep or behavior disorders. In the USA, emergency visits related to energy drinks have been multiplied by 2 between 2007 and 2011 (from 10 000 to 20 000), and concerned in majority heart problems linked to caffeine overdose.
According to an American study (Journal of Adolescent Heart – 2008) carried out on 795 New York students, regular consumers of energy drinks (superior or equal to 6 cans per month) are 3 times more likely to be smokers, to abuse of meds and to have had violent fights during the year before the study than non or light consumers. Moreover, they are twice as likely to smoke marijuana and to have alcohol troubles.
In order to face to these issues, many governments set up rules concerning energy drinks and their components.
SOME EXAMPLES OF COUNTRIES’ LEGISLATIONS
This is the European countries which are more willing to regulate the sector. For instance, in Norway, energy drinks have to be sold in drugstores only. In Sweden, the sale is strictly forbidden to people under 15.
On the other hand, the French government firstly banned the taurine component in these drinks, because of AFSSA suspicions. In July 2008, they eventually authorized energy drinks containing taurine. But doubts concerning health issues persist. This is the reason why French members of Assemblée Nationale recently vote a new tax on the energy drinks (the “RedBull tax” – October 24th). The objective is to dissuade consumers by increasing the price of cans. Indeed, they want to set up a 1€ tax per liter of energy drinks which contain more than 0,22g of caffeine or 0,3g of taurine per liter.
In Oceania, the law plans a limitation of caffeine rates.
As a matter of fact, a large majority of countries set up laws to regulate the energy drinks market, except the USA. The North American country is pretty late in this domain : no laws, no limitations despite the increasing number of health warnings and lawsuits against energy drinks manufacturers for heart attacks or deaths. Nevertheless, the situation might change soon. Recently, we have seen a certain awareness of some senators. For instance, Markey, a candidate for the Senate said : “It’s time for energy drink makers to stop masking their ingredients, stop marketing to kids, and start being more transparent with their products”, and made the federal agencies face up to its own responsibilities : “It’s time for the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) to crack down on these drink makers and for the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to investigate advertising practices of these companies to ensure that kids and parents are not being subjected to deceptive marketing practices”.
THE REACTION OF ENERGY DRINKS COMPANIES
Redbull, Monster and other energy drinks companies don’t really react to these governments’ measures. We can wonder if all these governmental concerns are not an advertisement for these drinks. Indeed, don’t we say that what is forbidden is attractive?
Sources: http://sante-medecine.commentcamarche.net/faq/6028-boissons-energisantes-dangers-pour-les-jeunes / http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boisson_%C3%A9nergisante#L.C3.A9gislation / http://www.lemonde.fr/sante/article/2013/10/24/les-deputes-votent-la-creation-d-une-taxe-sur-les-boissons-energisantes_3502258_1651302.html / http://www.aspq.org/fr/dossiers/boissons-energisantes/la-reglementation / http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/health/blogs/daily-dose/2013/04/11/energy-drinks-health-risks-increased-misleading-labels/lGmWyy7N1aj1lqSZbZyPAO/blog.html