New Report Casts Doubt on the Safety, Effectiveness of Energy Drinks

As the Winter Olympics get underway, we're going to be hit with ads from makers of 'energy drinks.'  But 1200 WOAI news reports the American College of Sports Medicine has a new official statement which raises red flags about the popular drinks.

Dr. John Higgins, a sports cardiologist at UT Health Houston, who is a member of the College, tells News Radio 1200 WOAI that the energy drinks need a good strong look by regulatory agencies like the Food and Drug Administration, and potentially, warning labels.

"We don't have good studies and good evidence that, number one, that these actually work, and, secondly, that these are safe," he said.

Dr. Higgins said its important to tell the difference between 'sports drinks' like Gatorade, which are safe and healthy, and 'energy drinks,' which the College says should not be consumed by children or adolescents due to the serious risk of significant medical issues, potentially leading to death.

He says many people think energy drinks are simply highly caffeinated fruit juice, when in fact they are a mixture of several ingredients, some of which have not been vetted by the FDA.

“When used safely and with moderation, energy drinks may have some short-term, performance-enhancing effects. However, users are generally unaware of the many potential adverse reactions that could have long-term effects, some of which are quite serious,” Dr. Higgins said. "We highly encourage consumers, parents, physicians, athletic trainers, personal trainers and coaches to follow these recommendations.”

The College is recommending that energy drinks not be consumed by children or adolescents, should not be consumed by 'vulnerable populations, including pregnant or breastfeeding women,  people who have sensitivity to caffeine, or individuals with cardiovascular or medical conditions.'

And especially, Dr. Higgins says energy drinks should not be used for sports hydration.  The report cites cases of individuals who have died after consuming energy drinks before and or after performing strenuous activites.

The report points out that currently, manufacturers of energy drinks advertise on websites, social media, and television channels that are highly appealing to children and adolescents

."Target marketing to sporting and other events involving children should not be permitted."The College also recommends that energy drinks be required to have a label warning of their potential dangers, and urging people not to mix them with alcohol, and not to use them while participating in sports or exercise.

IMAGE; GETTY

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