According to a Canadian study, 55.4% of youth and young adults who consume energy drinks have negative effects on their health. In France, at least 200 adverse reactions have been reported with these drinks according to ANSES. A public health problem at a time when consumption of these alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages is increasing worldwide.
In a national survey of young Canadians, more than half of young adults and teens who have ever used an energy drink report experiencing at least one adverse health effect, including an increased heart rate (tachycardia), nausea, and in rare cases, convulsions.
In France, in the same way, at least 200 adverse effects were reported with these drinks according to the agency that deals with consumer products.
As part of the study, researchers surveyed 2,055 young Canadians aged 12 to 24 years. Of those who reported consuming energy drinks at some point in their lives, 55.4% reported having an adverse effect on their health.
Of those who reported adverse health effects, 24.7% reported having an increase in their heart rate, 24.1% said they had difficulty sleeping and 18.3% felt headaches.
A total of 5.1% reported nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, 5% consulted a doctor for these side effects, 3.6% reported having oppression or chest pain, and 0.2% reported having had an epileptic seizure.
Coffee so far especially studied
Currently, Canada's legislation focuses on banning the marketing of energy drinks to children and recommends that these beverages not be drunk during a sports activity.
"Most energy drink risk studies done to date have focused on coffee to assess its health effects, but it is clear that these products pose a greater risk than coffee," said David Hammond. , professor at the University of Waterloo.
Several types of energy drinks
Energy drinks are drinks that contain a lot of caffeine, amino acids (taurine), a lot of sugar (up to 10 teaspoons of sugar for a can of 250 ml), vitamins and sometimes plant extracts (ginseng , guarana, maté). Energy drinks are supposed to meet the needs of athletes and instead contain sugars, vitamins and minerals.
Due to the presence of excess sugar in energy drinks, which can be as high as 30% of children's caloric intake, children are at risk of obesity and diabetes in the long term.
Caffeine (80 mg in Red Bull, the equivalent of a cup of coffee, but 3 times more than in cola) dehydrates the body and is therefore not recommended in case of physical effort.
As for taurine, animal studies show the harmful consequences of its overconsumption on the development of the brain. Young people exposed to high levels of taurine may have learning and memory problems.
Problems also observed in France
According to the website of the National Agency for Food Safety, Environment and Labor (ANSES), the problem is the same in France. The Agency reports over 200 cases of reported adverse reactions related to the consumption of energy drinks: feelings of oppression or chest pain, tachycardia, hypertension, arrhythmias up to cardiac arrest, irritability, nervousness , anxiety, panic attacks, epilepsy ...
But it is without counting the mixture alcohol and energy drink which modifies the perception of the risks related to the consumption of these drinks. Young people use these mixes in a psychostimulant perspective and this is a big mistake. It can indeed result from the consumption of this mixture alcohol-energy drink an increase in the risk of injury, compared to a consumption of alcohol alone.
Because of the stimulating effect of caffeine, energy drinks mask the tiredness of the young consumer, which can lead them to underestimate their alcohol level, to stay out longer, to consume more alcohol and ultimately risky behavior.
An essential limitation for children
"The number of health effects observed in our study suggests that more should be done to limit consumption among children and youth," Hammond said.
"The negative effects of energy drinks on health may be secondary to different ingredients, other than coffee or the way it is consumed (alcohol, physical activity), but the results suggest the need to increase the study of health effects. these products on health ".
An important resolution when we know that studies have shown that energy drinks can promote the development of a serious heart rhythm disorder in people with a genetic disease: long QT syndrome.