Energy drinks and kids: bad combination

New study warns of dangers

CLEVELAND - It’s not unusual to see teenagers with a Red Bull or a Rockstar in their hand. Young people make up about half the market consuming energy drinks.

A new review of scientific data, however, suggests that the drinks don’t do what they advertise and can even be harmful to the youngsters who consume them.

The study was done at the University of Miami School of Medicine and was published online Monday in the Journal Pediatrics.

The researchers analyzed data already presented about children, teens, and energy drinks.

Energy drinks are the fastest growing beverage in the U.S. market.  According to the ABC medical unit, sales are expected to top $9 billion in year 2011. Most energy drinks contain caffeine and are marketed to improve energy, weight loss, stamina, athletic performance, and concentration.

Even though healthy individuals can tolerate caffeine in moderation, heavy caffeine consumption, such as drinking of energy drinks, has been associated with serious consequences like seizures, mania, stroke and sudden death.

Although the FDA limits caffeine content in soft drinks, which are categorized as food, there is no such regulation of energy drinks which are categorized as dietary supplements.

The beverage industry is criticizing the report, saying energy drinks have no more caffeine than a cup of coffee.

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