Ireland’s national food-safety watchdog, Safefood, is calling for a ban on sports drinks to anyone under the age of 16 due to high sugar and caffeine content. They also added that they should not be used for rehydration purposes after sports.
The number of energy drinks being sold has increased by 290% since 2002, and, according to the report, the highest number of consumers are males between the ages of 15 and 24 - more than half of whom consume the energy drinks at least once a week.
Explaining how the energy drinks can have a negative effect on health due to their sugar and caffeine content, they want retailers to not sell them to under 16s. They are also criticising advertisers for aiming the marketing campaigns at young people.
“It’s really remarkable that these products are so prevalent and together, energy drinks and sports drinks now comprise more than 20pc of the soft drinks market in Ireland,” said Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, Director, Human Health & Nutrition for Safefood.
“A typical small 250ml can has sugar levels of six 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.”
Safefood are calling for an awareness campaign to highlight the potential health risks of young people consuming energy drinks.