first_imgA new report by safefood into Energy Drinks in Ireland has found a massive increase in the number of products on sale compared with 2002 and urges a ban on their sale to children under 16.The survey found Mountain Dew contained 16-and-a-half teaspoons of sugar and Monster Energy’s 500ml can had 14 teaspoons of sugar and the same amount of caffeine as a cup of espresso.The report also found that some brands cost less than €0.50 cent a can. Males aged 15-24 were the highest consumers of energy drinks (64%) and over half of those who consumed energy drinks (54%) consumed them at least once a week or more frequently.Introducing the research, Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, Director, Human Health & Nutrition,safefood commented: “It’s really remarkable that these products are so prevalent and together, energy drinks and sports drinks now comprise more than 20% of the soft drinks market in Ireland.“Consumption can have health consequences because of their sugar and caffeine content.“A typical small 250ml can has sugar levels of 6 teaspoons per can which is equivalent to a full chocolate bar. The caffeine content is high and drinking two small cans and one small espresso of coffee drives an adult’s daily caffeine intake above recommended levels. “In addition, the use of energy drinks as a mixer with alcohol among young adults also has consequences in the context of Ireland’s current binge–drinking culture. safefood’s position continues to be that these drinks are not recommended as a mixer for alcoholic beverages but this is now common and part of the binge drinking culture prevalent particularly amongst our 15-24 year olds.”Operation Transformation’s GP Dr Ciara Kelly continued: “Mixing an energy drink which is a stimulant, with alcohol which is a depressant, is like driving a car with your feet on the accelerator and brake pedals at the same time; it stimulates a person so they actually end up drinking for longer as they may not be aware how drunk they really are.“GP surgeries and our A&E Departments have to deal with the effects of mixing energy drinks with alcohol. The cheap price, easy availability, aggressive marketing and consumption of these products bluntly show how far from responsible the industry truly is and why we need to ask ourselves some hard questions when it comes to their use.”While the majority of energy drink brands surveyed in the report comply with current labelling legislation, specific health claims are still made such as “contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue”.Brands also make references to their appeal among “top athletes, students” and “in highly demanding professions” The safefood report found that the average price of an energy drink in Ireland was €1.09 however this cost ranged as low as €0.49 cent with supermarket own-brands being cheaper than branded products. The leading brands are also supported by extensive promotional campaigns particularly on digital and social media, with many brands hosting dozens of dedicated Twitter and Facebook accounts and marketing campaigns aimed specifically at active young people with a focus on high adrenalin activities and music.Media commentator and author Sheena Horgan said: “The increase in the number of energy and sports drink now available shows a marked trend in this category that accounted for almost €2 million in advertising spend last year – encompassing live events, sponsorships, promotion and digital and social activity.“My concern with such growth is twofold: firstly, regarding the implicit claims of some of the brands’ marketing around health and/or performance, either through words or image associations; and secondly, regarding the depth of the marketing carried out by some energy drink brands, which targets a young, and therefore impressionable audience.“In reality, in such a consumerist society as ours curtailing exposure to marketing is virtually impossible, however equipping young consumers with media literacy skills will empower them to balance their judgement against the ubiquity of marketing, and help them make informed and positive consumption decisions.” Dr Foley-Nolan added: “Safefood reiterate that energy drinks are also not suitable for children under 16 or for re-hydration purposes following sport.“Furthermore, the marketing of these products should be undertaken without any ambiguity or association with sport or alcohol. An awareness campaign of the potential health issues, targeted specifically at young people, is something that needs to happen.”DD HEALTH WATCH: SPORTS DRINKS ‘NOT SUITABLE’ FOR U16s was last modified: March 14th, 2016 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:dangersports drinksWarninglast_img read more