What Are Energy Drinks?
Before I start, I’ll summarise: consume energy drinks responsibly, in moderation, and not as a replacement for a normal, healthy diet. They are (mostly) nice, but they usually contain a lot of sugar and can be addictive. Think of them like liquid candy bars – too many and you’ll be seeing your doctor and/or dentist regularly. Just be sensible…
We support any proposals for restricting the sale of energy drinks and other high sugar beverages to children. As with anything, energy drinks should be consumed responsibly and in moderation – most energy drinks are essentially liquid candy so if you’d consider eating several large bags of Haribo per day excessive then you should probably look at energy drinks in the same way. Yes, they are tasty, easy to drink, and offer you a quick pick-me-up, but are not intended to be a staple part of your diet. Limiting sales of energy drinks to children is a valid way to discourage this type of habit. They don’t have the same social taboo as smoking or alcohol, but the health risks from regular and excessive consumption are just as obvious and caffiene is a well-known addictive substance.
What exactly are energy drinks?
Here at Fizzy Wake-Up, we define an energy drink as a cold caffeinated beverage. It doesn’t have to be carbonated, but at the same time we aren’t including the traditional caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee. Energy drinks typically rely on the combination of sugar and caffeine to provide the consumer with a boost of energy. Some energy drinks contain other ingredients which are purported to provide additional energy boosts. Guarana, for example, is a natural source of caffeine. Vitamins and minerals such as taurine and vitamin B12 are also common ingredients. Generally they are fruit flavoured, with ‘mixed fruit’ being the most common and recognisable – we call them ‘clones’ because they are trying to taste similar to Red Bull. Just by way of comparison, an average energy drink of 250ml contains about 80mg of caffeine whereas an average single shot of espresso contains around 65mg. Most high street coffee chains ‘medium’ and ‘large’ drinks containing significantly more caffeine that this making an average energy drink roughly comparable in caffeine content to a cup of coffee.
Is caffeine safe?
Caffeine is a stimulant, so is technically a psychoactive drug which acts on your nervous system. Caffeine consumption can have serious consequences if taken to excess. It is addictive, even in small quantities when consumed regularly, and can cause nervousness, sleep irregularity, anxiety and it should be avoided altogether during pregnancy. However, in moderation it is considered safe and occasionally beneficial, sharpening reflexes and increasing alertness. Recently, UK supermarkets and some convenience stores have introduced a sensible over-16 only age restriction for the purchase of high-caffeine drinks. This initiative is being combined with the UK government’s sugar-tax as part of a campaign to help tackle an increase in various diet-related health issues.
(Information extracted from Wikipedia’s Caffeine article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caffeine)