Food watchdog warns of dangers mixing energy drinks with alcohol
They are available for as little as 49c a can but the long-term effects of regularly consuming trendy energy drinks are unknown, a new report from Safefood warns.
It said there are particular dangers in mixing these drinks - which can contain up to 16 teaspoons of sugar and are high in caffeine - with alcohol.
The energy drinks, which can cost from 49c to €1.99 a can, are extremely popular with young men aged 15-24. Over half this age group say they consume them at least one can a week.
However, Safefood's director of human health and nutrition, Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, said: "A typical small, 250ml can has sugar levels of six teaspoons which is equivalent to a full chocolate bar.
"The caffeine content is high - and drinking two small cans and one small espresso of coffee drives an adult's daily caffeine intake above recommended levels," she added.
Dr Foley-Nolan said mixing these drinks with alcohol left young people in particular at risk of binge-drinking.
Safefood said they are not suitable for children under the age of 16 or for rehydration after sport.
It found that a face-to-face survey of 807 adults showed the drinks are most likely to be consumed to quench thirst and for extra energy after exercise.
When reporting on their effect, 43pc felt they kept them awake for longer and 27pc believed they gave them "an edge" in sport.
Meanwhile, 27pc thought they improved their attention span when studying and working.
One in four said they had no effect but 6pc blamed them for "the shakes" and 4pc said they got headaches.