As energy drinks gain popularity among younger generations, some are questioning the safety of these sugary, caffeine-loaded beverages, which studies have suggested may contribute to sleep difficulties, obesity, irregular heart beat and other health problems, and the drinks have been banned in France, Norway and Denmark.
Energy drinks are becoming increasingly popular with the younger generation, especially for males interested in extreme sports, video games and hip hop.
With names like SoBe Adrenaline Rush, Monster Energy, Hype Energy and Everlast, these trendy brews claim to "improve muscle tone," "increase endurance" and "invigorate the mind and body."
While different brands have similar but not identical formulations, many energy drinks are a concoction of sugar, a hefty dose of caffeine, B vitamins and herbs such as guarana (a source of caffeine) and ginseng.
Some, like Red Bull and Red Rain, contain extra ingredients such as taurine (an amino acid which occurs naturally in foods) and gluconolactone (a carbohydrate).
A single 250 ml (one cup) serving contains anywhere from 25 to 38 grams of sugar (roughly six to nine teaspoons).
Health Canada advises children aged seven to nine years to consume no more than 62 mg of caffeine per day and 10- to 12-year-olds no more than 85 mg (adults should consume no more than 400 to 450 mg daily).
When energy drinks are consumed in greater quantities than recommended, or when they're used by kids, during sports, or in combination with alcohol.
Exercise alone can dehydrate a person, so consuming caffeine-packed energy drinks before, during or after sports can worsen dehydration and be dangerous to the heart.
Mixing energy drinks with alcohol also carries a number of dangers.
In Canada, some energy drinks must be regulated as a natural health product, depending on their ingredients and the claims they make.
The label instructs adults to limit their daily intake to 500 ml (two cans) and warns the product is not to be mixed with alcohol, nor is it recommended for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, or those sensitive to caffeine.
Brands like Sobe No Fear and Coca Cola's Full Throttle come in 473-ml cans.
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