A recent report in medical journal Pediatrics shows that no 'safe' level of consumption of energy drinks has been established for children, adolescents and young adults, and consumption of these under-researched, over-used drinks could well lead to heart palpitations, seizures, strokes and even sudden death.
While the report talks of non-alcoholic drinks, their impact could be particularly virulent when consumed with alcohol or in the presence of certain medical conditions.
The authors identify too much caffeine as one of the main triggers behind these risks - the effects of caffeine may in fact be intensified by the presence of other typical ingredients in these drinks. As such, they recommend pediatricians to routinely advise patients and parents against the consumption of these drinks - probably as vehemently as in case of tobacco, alcohol or narcotics.
Another report on these drinks is expected soon from the American Academy of Pediatrics and might contain explicit guidelines for doctors.
The report points out that energy drinks constitute the fastest growing U.S. beverage market, with sales expected to touch $9 billion in 2011. About a third of teens and young adults consume these regularly.
The Associated Press also reports that 677 cases of energy drink overdoses and side effects were noted from October through December 2010, after the American Association of Poison Control Centers adopted codes to track these; so far, 331 have been reported in 2011, most of which involve children and teens.