Do energy drinks need stronger labels?
Energy drinks are a hot commodity, especially with the younger crowd. College students practically live off the shiny cans full of caffeine and promises of an energy boost. Now some researchers are worried about the amount of caffeine in these popular beverages.
More caffeine than you think
“The caffeine content of energy drinks varies over a 10-fold range, with some containing the equivalent of 14 cans of Coca-Cola, yet the caffeine amounts are often unlabeled and few include warnings about the potential health risks of caffeine intoxication,” says Roland Griffiths, Ph.D.
Griffiths believes energy drinks should list the amount of caffeine on the can. “It’s like drinking a serving of an alcoholic beverage and not knowing if its beer or scotch,” he said.
Medical complications from caffeine
There is a medical condition known as caffeine intoxication, and as the name suggests, it happens when the body takes in too much caffeine. This condition comes with jitteriness, tremors, and rapid heartbeat and in rare cases can lead to death.
In some cases energy drinks are mixed with alcohol, which increases the serious side effects. “Alcohol adds another level of danger,” says Griffiths, “because caffeine in high doses can give users a false sense of alertness that provides incentive to drive a car or in other ways put themselves in danger.”
College student’s perspective
“I depend on energy drinks to get me through the day,” William Tiven said. “I like the taste and they give the extra energy I need to trudge through school work.” According to Tiven a label on the side of the can with the caffeine amount listed wouldn’t deter him from drinking them.
“I figure there are worse things I could do to my body than add some caffeine to it,” he said. “I understand the concern, but I doubt I would give up any kind of sugary drink because of a label.”