So-called ‘healthy’ energy drinks – which contain eight times more caffeine than a cup of coffee – could cause a person to have a heart attack or stroke, a new study has found.
According to researchers from the Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health, regularly drinking any type of energy drink can lead kidney damage, raised blood pressure and obesity.
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The drinks generate around $10bn sales in the US alone every year, partly because they are marketed as a healthy option to improve energy levels, stamina, athletic performance and concentration.
But the drinks’ high levels of caffeine and sugars can cause a wide range of life-threatening health problems, such as hypertension, kidney damage, obesity, and mental health problems such as stress and anxiety.
The impact could be even more severe in children and adolescents—who are often the focus of the energy drink industry’s marketing—although its extent isn’t known because it’s never been assessed.
As a precautionary move, the sale of the drinks should be restricted, and children and adolescents should be barred from purchasing them, the researchers say.