Caffeine: A troubling component of "energy" drinks

In 2006, energy drinks were a $5.4 billion market in the U.S. alone. Each year, more than 900 million gallons of energy drinks are consumed, and the market is growing. In 2008, a research group at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine painstakingly compiled the caffeine content and per ounce dose of top selling energy drink brands sold in the U.S. The content of hundreds of brands on the market range from 50 mg to 505 mg per can or bottle (compared to an average of 77 mg in a 6 oz cup of coffee). Caffeine limits set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are 0.02%, which are not followed. Energy drink manufacturers exploit a loophole introduced by the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, often referring to the supplemental or beneficial qualities of their product. Read the breakdown of how much caffeine energy drinks contain.

These popular beverages were first introduced in Europe in the 1960s and contain caffeine and sugar, boasted as being a pick me up and sold to prevent fatigue or tiredness. Some of the drinks also claim to be a source of vitamins and minerals that boost metabolism. However, research has found troubling consequences of the drinks’ popularity, including caffeine dependence consisting of addiction and withdrawal, as well as heart conditions, particularly in children. Read more about energy drinks and caffeine dependence.

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