Food Safety and Standards Authority of India Proposes Regulation of Energy Drinks, and Caffeine
Introduction 1. Energy drinks are non-alcoholic beverages containing caffeine, guarana,
glucuronolactone, taurine, ginseng, inositol, carnitine, B-vitamins etc. as main ingredients that act as stimulants. In recent years, a number of different energy drinks have been introduced in the Indian market to provide an energy boost or as dietary supplements. These drinks contain high levels of caffeine which stimulates the nervous system. 2. Energy drinks are heavily marketed to young adults and others and manufacturers
compare the effects of the drinks to the use of drugs like cocaine. Many of these drinks are heavily promoted in bars or for use in combination with alcohol, which could further increase the health risk to consumers. There are a number of scientific reports on the adverse consequences of excessive consumption of caffeine. The main sources of caffeine are tea, coffee and soft drinks. In energy drinks, caffeine is added at levels of up to 80 mg per serve. The drinks usually have a number of added water soluble vitamins such as, niacin, pathothenic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 and other substances, such as amino acids. 3. There are, at present, no Codex Standards for soft drinks or non-alcoholic
carbonated beverages. Several countries have approved energy drinks as dietary supplements. The health implications of caffeine have also been enquired into by several countries. 4. Caffeine is added to energy drinks ostensibly to increase mental performance. The
detrimental effects of caffeine have been identified by several studies. Moreover, caffeine used in conjunction with alcoholic or other substances of dependence can have additional impact on health. The scientific community has been concerned at the potential access to caffeinated beverages by children and the carry over fortification from caffeine fortified foods to other products. Therefore, products which have caffeine as ingredient are usually prohibited from being used as ingredient in other beverages commonly consumed by children. Pregnant and lactating women are vulnerable groups for whom high consumption of caffeine is not advised. The supply of caffeine from all sources of a normal diet should also be considered while determining the maximum permissible limit.
Review of Scientific Literature 5. In recent years, a number of different energy drinks have been introduced to provide
an energy boost or as dietary supplements. They contain high levels of caffeine as well as other additives, such as taurine, ginseng and carnitine that act as stimulants. Some of the more popular brands are Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar, No Fear, Tab Energy, Wired and Fixx. In addition, many of the drinks are heavily marketed in bars or for use in combination with alcohol, which could further increase the health risks to consumers. 6. In August 2008, a study conducted by the Cardiovascular Research Centre at the
Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia found that energy drinks could increase the risk of strokes and heart attacks. According to the research, even consuming one can of the caffeinated energy drink Red Bull could cause the blood to become sticky, increasing the risk of clotting. 7. A group of 100 scientists and physicians, led by a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins
School of Medicine, has sent a petition to FDA urging the agency to increase energy drink regulations, as the high caffeine drinks could increase the risk of caffeine intoxication and alcohol-related injuries. The group of scientists and experts believe that warnings and limits are necessary because there is a wide disparity in caffeine and alcohol content in the various brands of energy drinks. In some non-alcoholic energy drinks, caffeine content varies between 75mg and 150mg per can. In some other energy drinks, caffeine content drastically varies between 300mg and 500mg per can....
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