Top Medical Journal warns about the Dangers of Caffeinated Energy Drinks

Canada’s top medical journal has published a damning editorial targeting the energy drink industry today, claiming that the sugar-filled cans found at convenience stores around the country are dangerously “caffeinating” the country’s youth and children.
Dr. Paul C. Hébert, editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) says that caffeine-loaded energy drinks “have now crossed the line from beverages to drugs delivered as tasty syrups”. He is calling for prominent labels listing caffeine content and an end to ads targeting children.
"These super-loaded syrups typically contain 80 to 140 milligrams of caffeine per 250 millilitres -the equivalent caffeine in one cup of coffee or two cans of cola," says Hébert, but some companies offer formulations containing the caffeine equivalent of 10 cans of cola in a 500 mL serving.
Energy drinks are aggressively marketed to youth, especially teenage boys, editor Dr. Paul Hébert says.
The side effects of consuming such large doses of caffeine can lead to nausea, vomiting, heart palpitations according to Dr. Hébert, a critical care physician.
Health Canada recommends no more than 400 mg of caffeine per day for adults, the equivalent of about three eight-ounce (237 mL) cups of brewed coffee. For children under age 12, the agency recommends a maximum daily caffeine intake of no more than 2.5 mg per kilogram of body weight. That means no more than 62.5 mg for children age 7 to 9, and 85 mg for children age 10 to 12.
For youngsters 13 or older, Health Canada suggests limiting daily caffeine intake to no more than 2.5 mg per kilogram of body weight.
Hébert’s final recommendations are to impose labels and advertising that carry warnings comparable to those required for caffeine tablets. The Journals contends that advertising targeting children should also be curbed.
To read the entire editorial published by the CMAJ, click here.
For more information on what your kids should be drinking, and for ideas on how to influence healthy drink choices, click here.
Photo credit: Tambako