Sales of energy drinks that contain high levels of caffeine and “novel” ingredients are on the rise in the United States and pose a potential health hazard for youth.
While energy drinks labeled as beverages must comply with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nutrition labeling, some are mislabeled as dietary supplements, which have less stringent requirements. In either case, manufacturers are not required to disclose caffeine content. Caffeine and other energy drink ingredients, such as guarana and taurine, have been linked to toxicity and emergency department visits by youth.
These authors recommend that the U.S. government take several actions to protect and inform consumers about the ingredients and risks of energy drinks, among them:
Parents support such actions. According to a 2011 study by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, 85 percent of parents think energy drink labels should include caffeine content and warnings.