Study calls energy drinks risky for youth

Feb. 14, 2011 at 3:57 PM
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MIAMI, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Caffeine- and sugar-laced energy drinks can be dangerous for young people, pediatricians said Monday.

The study by the University of Miami School of Medicine was published Monday in the online version of the American Academy of Pediatrics' journal, The Miami Herald reported.

It states the drinks "have no therapeutic benefit, and many ingredients are understudied and not regulated."

Dr. Steven Lipshultz, a co-author, said the drinks are especially unsafe for children with diabetes, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and undiagnosed heart problems.

"Kids with diabetes are not really counseled about what's in these drinks, and they could end up with very serious problems from sugar and caffeine," he said.

For rehydration after physical exertion, Lipshultz said, "drinks like Gatorade are probably OK. It's not clear that parents or children differentiate between Gatorade and energy drinks like Red Bull."

An 8-ounce can of Rockstar has twice the caffeine of a 14-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola, he said.

Dr. Maureen Storey, senior vice president of science policy for the American Beverage Association, responded by saying the pediatricians' stance "does nothing more than perpetuate misinformation about energy drinks, their ingredients and the regulatory process."

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