Too many energy drinks are harmful to health

Children and adolescents in particular are at risk.


Energy drinks containing caffeine, which are particularly popular among younger people, can cause serious health problems in children and adolescents when consumed excessively. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) recently issued a warning. In a report, the federal authority comes to the conclusion that acute moderate consumption of energy drinks by healthy young adults does not lead to undesirable effects if the caffeine intake does not exceed the limits that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) classifies as being harmless. According to EFSA, children and adolescents should not consume more than a total of 3 milligrams (mg) of caffeine per kilogram (kg) of body weight per day.

The BfR explains that a 250-millilitre (ml) can of an energy drink usually contains around 80 mg of caffeine as well as other ingredients. EFSA does not consider an individual caffeine intake of up to 3 mg of caffeine per kg of body weight, i.e. around 200 mg, to be a health concern for adults. For regular caffeine consumption, the EU authorities set the limit for healthy adults at up to 5.7 mg of caffeine per kg of body weight, spread throughout the day. This corresponds to about 400 mg of caffeine. For a healthy young person with a body weight of around 50 kg, however, the EFSA’s recommended maximum limit of 150 mg of caffeine is already clearly exceeded if he or she consumes two standard 250-ml cans of energy drink each containing 80 mg of caffeine.

A BfR-initiated study on the consumption of energy drinks showed that on special occasions, for example when visiting discos, music or sports events or computer game parties, some young people drink significantly more than a litre of energy drink, either straight or mixed with alcoholic beverages. The BfR warns that undesirable consequences can be palpitations, shortness of breath, tremor of the muscles, nausea, anxiety, nervousness or ECG changes. Basically, too much caffeine can lead to nervousness, insomnia, gastrointestinal problems, palpitations and high blood pressure.

Considerable risk to the cardiovascular system

Consequently, the federal authority considers children and adolescents who consume too much caffeine to be a risk group that could be exposed to major health risks, particularly risks associated with the cardiovascular system. The BfR also points out that young people may not be sufficiently aware that other factors such as alcohol consumption or strenuous physical activity exacerbate the undesirable effects of caffeine.

Caffeine is not the only ingredient in energy drinks that can adversely affect health, though. Such drinks are also characterised by a very high sugar content, more than eight per cent, which puts them at the top of the list for soft drinks. Expressed in a different way, the sugar content is equivalent to putting 6.5 sugar cubes into a 250-ml glass. The World Health Organization (WHO) regards sweetened drinks with a high sugar content to be ‘one of the main causes’ for the development of obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

Anyone who wants to do something for their performance and vitality without harming their health is therefore better advised to stay away from energy drinks and get into shape using an Almased shake instead. And there are two benefits. The valuable ingredients in the formulated product provide not only an optimised diet and supply the body with all the important nutrients it needs to be fit and able: thanks to the guaranteed slimming effect of Almased, the body also regains its taut form and retains it sustainably. Can energy drinks also score points with such benefits?

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