A new study has found that popular energy drinks, high in caffeine and sugar, can have very serious implications for the health of young people, especially those who suffer from diabetes, heart problems or seizures.
The research team from the University of Miami, led by Dr Steven E. Lipshultz, professor and chair of pediatrics, associate executive dean for child health at the Miller School, found that children and young people accounted for more than half the market in these energy drinks, despite their being little understanding of how the ingredients could damage their oral and general health.
Most of these beverages contains strong stimulants such as caffeine, taurine and guarana – often in large quantities – yet no safe level for children has ever been established in relation to these ingredients.
Lipshultz says that until further research is carried out into the effects of these energy drinks on the health of young people, there should be a restriction on their sale, as there is in some European countries.
“We wanted to raise awareness about the risks. Our systematic review suggests that these drinks have no benefit and should not be a part of the diet of children and teens,” he said.
These drinks have no health benefits for young people at all, despite over half of college students saying they drink them on a regular basis, to counter insufficient sleep and to give themselves more energy.
Most worrying, the stimulants can cause heart palpitations in healthy children and potentially worse in young people who already have health conditions, while the excess sugar and calories contributes towards childhood obesity and poor oral health.