Wednesday 21 March 2018

Energy drinks have same caffeine as four espressos

Aideen Sheehan

Aideen Sheehan

Energy drinks which are openly available in most shops can contain as much caffeine as four espressos or up to 18 teaspoons of sugar.

A survey by the Irish Independent has found that although the drinks comply with EU regulations, they still contain extremely high levels of caffeine and sugar.

It comes as watchdog 'Safefood' has delivered its own review of the health risks associated with energy drinks to the Department of Health.

Safefood's report involves new research carried out in Ireland as well as a wide review of international evidence.

"Safefood's position on so-called 'Energy Drinks' would be that these stimulant drinks are not suitable for rehydration purposes following sport, that they are not recommended as a mixer for alcoholic beverages, that they are not suitable drinks for children under 16 and that marketing of these products should be undertaken without ambiguity or association with sport or alcohol," a spokesperson said.

Read more: 'Legal high' drinks lead to trouble in schools

Research from the Mayo Clinic presented to the American College of Cardiology also found that energy drinks can raise blood pressure to potentially unhealthy levels.

The Irish Independent found that Monster Energy and Monster Ripper had the highest caffeine level of the drinks surveyed, with 160mg of caffeine in a 500ml can - four times as much as a shot of Espresso.

Coca Cola's Bpm Energy has 71.5g or 18 teaspoons of sugar in its 500ml berry red bottles, which is 40pc more sugar than the World Health Organisation recommends for an entire day.

However, its caffeine level is lower than the 15mg/100ml EU threshold for placing a health warning on the bottle.

Mountain Dew contains 16 teaspoons of sugar, while large cans of Red Bull (473ml) contain 151mg of caffeine and 52g (13 teaspoons) of sugar.

Red Bull said that a 250ml can contains the same amount of sugar as fruit juice and the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee.

Pepsi Co, which makes Mountain Dew, said it offered a variety of drinks and all nutritional content was clearly displayed.

Asked about the high level of sugar in Bpm drinks, Coca Cola said that any diet will lead to being overweight if you consume too much and exercise too little.

Monster Energy did not respond to requests for a comment.

Declan Jackson of Ibec's Irish Beverage Council said most energy drinks contained just 80mg caffeine.

"These drinks are not marketed to children under 12 years," he said.

However, obesity expert Dr Donal O'Shea said that Irish sports centres should follow the example of those in Glasgow, which recently banned the sale of energy drinks, because of the risks to young people.

Irish Independent

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