UM Study Says Energy Drinks Pose Serious Risk to Kids

Industry disputes Miami School of Medicine's findings

Energy drinks not only may make your kid hyper, but it turns out they might also make them seriously unhealthy.

A study issued Monday from the University of Miami School of Medicine says energy drinks could pose a risk for serious adverse health effects in some children, especially those with diabetes, seizures, cardiac abnormalities or mood and behavior disorders.

The study, called "Health Effects of Energy Drinks on Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults," says the energy drinks "have no therapeutic benefit to children, and both the known and unknown properties of the ingredients, combined with reports of toxicity, may put some children at risk for adverse health events."

According to study surveys, adolescents account for half of the energy drink market, and as many as 50 percent have reported consuming energy drinks.

The study says high levels of stimulants such as caffeine, taurine and guarana are in the energy drinks and that safe levels of consumption of these ingredients haven't been established for children.

It also says energy drink overdose can lead to seizures, stroke and even sudden death.

But some are saying the study's findings are hogwash, and that mainstream energy drinks like Red Bull contain as much and even only half as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.

“This literature review does nothing more than perpetuate misinformation about energy drinks, their ingredients and the regulatory process,” said Dr. Maureen Storey, senior vice president of science policy for the American Beverage Association, in an e-mail to the Miami Herald.

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