Energy drinks may contain more than they claim

An investigation by Consumer Reports magazine tested 27 different energy drinks and found caffeine amounts aren't always what they claim. Now the FDA is looking into just how safe the products are.
When you reach for an energy drink for a boost, you may be getting more than you bargained for. An investigation by Consumer Reports magazine tested 27 different products and found caffeine amounts aren't always what they claim. Now the FDA is looking into just how safe the products are.

The next time you pick up an energy drink, don't count on the label to tell you how much caffeine is inside. Some teens don't really care as long as it wakes them up.

"I drink at least like one or two a day, that's it," said 15-year-old Tusho Andreas.

"My friend used to drink several a day and he would get sick from it," said 14-year-old Nova Harwick.

That sick feeling is known as caffeine intoxication and it's getting the attention of health officials. Doctors at the Pediatric Heart Center in southwest Bakersfield say they're seeing a spike in cases.

"We're seeing an increase rise in kids complaining of things like palpitations, elevated blood pressure, headaches things like that," said pediatric cardiologist Dr. John Ho.

Energy drinks are likely to blame. According to Consumer Reports magazine, an eight ounce serving of Red Bull or Monster contains about 88 milligrams of caffeine, compared to about 100 milligrams of an eight ounce cup of coffee. The problem is many energy drinks contain two or three servings, doubling or tripling the caffeine intake. At the same time, doctors say kids have smaller bodies and weigh less than adults.

"There's not a well established recommended intakes of these kinds of things like caffeine for children because we've never looked at that before," said Dr. Ho.

But for some teens, what's in the drink doesn't matter as much as what it does to them.

"It makes me alright, just to the point where I'm a little bit shaking," said Andreas.

Federal health officials are investigating if Monster energy drinks are responsible for five deaths over the past three years including a Maryland teen earlier this year.

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