The consumption of energy drinks may be linked to several health issues in children, according to a new review of data covering over 1.2 million young people up to age 21.
As a follow-up to a review conducted in 2016, researchers from the UK-based Centre for Translational Research in Public Health (also called Fuse) undertook a massive analysis of 57 studies from over 21 countries to better understand how young people’s health might be affected by the consumption of energy drinks high in caffeine and sugar.
Their results were published last month in the journal Public Health, and they did not bode well.
“We repeated [the review] only to find an ever-growing evident space that suggests the consumption of these drinks is associated with negative health outcomes,” said Amelia Lake, the review’s lead author and a professor of public health nutrition at Teesside University, according to Fox News.
These negative health outcomes ranged from mental to physical, with the consumption of energy drinks correlating to the risk of suicidal thoughts, psychological distress, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), tooth decay, insulin resistance, and obesity. The latter is a growing problem in the United States, with the adult obesity rate reaching 39.6% and the child obesity rate hitting 19.7%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
An increased propensity for partaking in risky behaviors, such as substance abuse or unsafe sex, was also seen in the recent review.
“This evidence suggests that energy drinks have no place in the diets of children and young people,” said Lake, per Fox.
The bottom line, according to Lake and her fellow researchers, is that lawmakers should regulate the selling of energy drinks to safeguard young people’s health, as has been done to varying extents in Sweden, Lithuania, Turkey, and Latvia.
In fact, there has been a growing body of research on the harm caused by energy drinks, not to mention a few lawsuits.
As previously reported in The Dallas Express, the popular fast-food chain Panera found itself slapped with two lawsuits last year after two individuals died in separate incidents allegedly due to being unaware of the high levels of caffeine found in their “Charged Lemonade.” Both 21-year-old Sarah Katz and 46-year-old Dennis Brown had had several refills of the drink and later died of cardiac arrest.
The caffeine content of energy drinks ranges from 50 mg to 505 mg per serving, with a large 30-ounce cup of Panera’s Charged Lemonade coming in at about 390 mg. For comparison, 8.45 ounces of coffee has 90 mg of caffeine.