Are Energy Drinks Dangerous? (page 2)

Are Energy Drinks Dangerous?

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based on 111 ratings
February 21, 2011
Updated on Feb 18, 2011

Lipshultz said the data, based on a review of 121 different studies and government reports, is at odds with the beverage group. According to surveys filled out by users, energy drinks are consumed by 30% to 50% of adolescents and young adults, according to the study. Because all the ingredients are regulated, it's impossible to know how much caffeine is added to energy drinks with guarana, for example. That's a South American plant that contains a high amount of caffeine.

The head of the National Association of School Nurses agreed the study sends up red flags about energy drinks to parents.

"I've seen kids who come in and have had an energy drink in the morning and they will tell me they feel like their hearts are beating out of their chests," said Sandi Delack, who is a nurse at Ferri Middle School in Johnston, R.I.

Delack and Lipshultz offered this advice for parents when it comes to energy drinks:

  • "Read the study," said Lipshultz, who said he was proud that Pediatrics magazine has provided free access to the study on its website .
  • Have an open and honest conversation with your kids. Does your child, or his or her friends regularly drink energy drinks? Why do they do it, and how does it make them feel?

"This isn't about judging," said Lipshultz. The conversation is a perfect opportunity for teens to learn the importance of monitoring what goes into their bodies. Doctors, teachers, school coaches and others should read the study as well, he said.

"I think it's important that parents just know what their kids are ingesting, and if they are using these drinks, that they are using it correctly," said Delack, referring to concerns highlighted in the study about the combination of energy drinks with stimulants, certain medications or medical conditions.

Lipshultz said while the study wasn't motivated by a desire to conclude that kids should or should not use energy drinks, he believes the evidence points to an inescapable conclusion for now.

"We don't have the evidence," he said. "Why as a parent would I want to have my child take this unregulated drink until there is sufficient information available? In the absence of evidence, children should be discouraged from taking this."

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