A new Canadian study revealed that energy drinks can negatively impact the health of youth. According to the study and based on the results of a nationwide survey of Canadian youth, over half of those who had ever consumed an energy drink reported experiencing negative health effects as a result.
According to the study from the University of Waterloo which was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), the impacts of drinking energy drinks include rapid heartbeat, nausea, and in rare cases, seizures.
The study pointed out the Canadian legislation is meant to prohibit energy drinks from being marketed to children and energy drinks are not recommend to be used by people participating in sporting activities.
During their research, the scientists surveyed 2,055 young Canadians aged 12 to 24. Of those that had reported consuming energy drinks at some point in their lives, 55.4% reported experiencing adverse health effects.
According to the study’s findings, of those reporting adverse health effects, 24.7% reported experiencing a fast heartbeat, 24.1% reported difficulty sleeping, and 18.3% reported experiencing headaches. A total of 5.1% reported nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea, 5% sought medical attention, 3.6% reported experiencing chest pains, and 0.2% reported having a seizure.
“Most risk assessments to date have used coffee as a reference for estimating the health effects of energy drinks; however, it is clear these products pose a greater health risk,” said David Hammond, the lead author of the study, and a professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Waterloo.
Hammond added that “the health effects from energy [drinks] could be due to the different ingredients than coffee, or the ways in which they [are] consumed, including with alcohol or during physical activity; regardless, the findings suggest a need to increase surveillance of health effects from these products,” according to the press release of the university.
“The number of health effects observed in our study suggests that more should be done to restrict consumption among children and youth,” Hammond explained, adding, “at the moment, there are no restrictions on children purchasing energy drinks, and they are marketed at the point-of-sale in grocery stores, as well as advertising that targets children.”