Concerns Over UK Teens Consuming ‘Dangerous’ Energy Drinks

Teenagers in the UK consume more than a liter of energy drinks per month, making them the largest consumers in Europe.

Approximately 1.7 million people in the UK drink energy drinks up to three times per week, and one-third of children in the UK drink caffeinated energy drinks weekly. However, due to their excessive caffeine content, the Labour Party has now vowed to outlaw energy drinks for minors under the age of 16. National trade standards would impose a rule that would make it illegal for minors to buy beverages with more than 150 milligrams of caffeine per liter.

Anxiety, sadness, and thoughts of suicide are among the serious mental health problems that have been associated with excessive energy drink usage, as are physical emergencies like heart attack, stroke, and acute manic episodes, as well as sleep disturbances caused by stimulants and caffeine. 

An American study found that energy drinks increase the chance of arrhythmia.

Electrical impulses regulate the contraction of the upper and lower chambers of the heart, maintaining a proper cardiac rhythm. When the heart’s electrical system fails, leading to irregular heartbeats, the condition is known as an arrhythmia.

Studies have shown that frequent use of energy drinks might begin physical dependency on caffeine due to the large quantities of caffeine they offer.

A cup of coffee has around 80 mg of caffeine, and a can of Coca-Cola has about 33mg. Monster or Red Bull energy drinks have 160 milligrams of caffeine, and Sting contains an alarming 290 milligrams.

Added sugar content is another area where energy drinks have been criticized in the past. Red Bull contains approximately 54 grams of sugar (13 teaspoons). 

There are worries about the potential health risks of aspartame, sucralose, and acesulfame K, three of the most commonly used sweeteners. Several brands have introduced sugar-free versions of their products.

It is also believed that the chemical concoctions overstimulate the adrenergic system, a regulatory network in the body that is involved in the heart’s and the brain’s proper functioning. This mechanism is believed to be responsible for acute manic episodes (an extraordinarily high, euphoric, or irritated mood) and strokes that have been associated with excessive energy drink usage.

Sales to children were outright banned in Lithuania and Latvia, but the British government has yet to follow suit.