Energy drinks have too much caffeine

A new study recommends putting labels on energy drinks to warn consumers about their abnormally high level of caffeine.

Heart palpitations and insomnia are two symptoms that researchers of a new study believe are good reason to put warning labels on energy drinks, including Red Bull.

The study found that some energy drinks contain as much caffeine as 14 cans of soda and could lead to symptoms of overdose.

Roland Griffiths, American behavioural biologist and a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience, who conducted the study, said “Many of these drinks do not label the caffeine content.”

Griffiths analysed 29 energy and soda drinks for their caffeine content. Relentless, made by Coca-Cola, had 160mg and Cocaine, an energy drink sold in the US, contains 280mg. Another American energy drink, called Whoop Ass, was found to provide 505mg of caffeine a can, while a can of Red Bull had 80mg of caffeine, compared to a cup of instant coffee which has 65mg.

One of the researchers, Dr Bruce Goldberger, said only four of the 10 energy drinks were labelled with some sort of warning to consumers.

Griffiths warns that the lack of information could lead to drinkers suffering from caffeine intoxication. “You can easily imagine people consuming a couple of these drinks and running smack into caffeine intoxication,” said Griffiths. “People can end up not only feeling lousy, but in hospital thinking they are having a heart attack.”

In response to the study, the American Beverage Association released a statement saying that labelling is “unnecessary” and that regular coffee from a coffee house has double the caffeine of most energy drinks.

“Specifically, a 16-ounce regular blend coffee at a popular coffee house contains 320 mg of caffeine, while a comparable size mainstream energy drink contains about 160 mg,” the statement said.

Sources: Times Online UK, Web MD, Beverage Daily, American Beverage Association, IT Wire