Energy drinks and health risks

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Energy drinks, Energy drink

EFSA found that adolescents were most likely to consume energy drinks
EFSA found that adolescents were most likely to consume energy drinks
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published results into consumption of energy drinks  ̶  the findings of which will be a key component of the organisation's forthcoming ruling on the health risks associated with caffeine.

The report for the first time collates data on the consumption of energy drinks at European level for specific population groups, including children and adolescents.

The study also estimates consumers' exposure, through both acute and chronic consumption, to some active ingredients found in energy drinks primarily caffeine, taurine and D-glucurono-y-lactone.

43% of caffeine exposure

The study found that adolescents were most likely to consume energy products  ̶  68% of total respondents  ̶  and that energy drinks accounted for an estimated 43% of the total caffeine exposure of children aged three to 10.

The external study, which was commissioned under EFSA's grants and procurement procedure, also examined specific energy drink consumption habits  ̶  including co-consumption with alcohol or consumption associated with intense physical exercise.

EFSA said in a statement: "The results provide important data for EFSA's forthcoming risk assessment on the safety of caffeine. In the context of a broader mandate, EFSA has been asked by the European Commission to determine whether and the extent to which the consumption of caffeine together with other food constituents such as alcohol or substances found in energy drinks could present a risk to health as a result of interactions of these constituents."

'High chronic'

Other key findings are that 30% of adults interviewed were consumers of energy drinks, with 12% termed "high chronic"​ by regularly consuming drinks on four to five days a week or more.

Among children aged 3 ̶ 10 years, approximately 18% of those interviewed were consumers of energy drinks. Among these, around 16% were "high chronic"​ consumers, with average consumption of 0.95 litres a week.

The study was commissioned after some Member State representatives expressed concerns to the authority's Advisory Forum about the growth in popularity of energy drinks in Europe and the consequent potential exposure to caffeine and other ingredients, particularly among children and adolescents.

Related topics: Drinks

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