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Energy drinks ban for under-16s

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A leading charity is calling for an energy drinks ban for under-16s. A team of researchers from Action on Sugar examined the labels of 197 energy drinks on the market. The study found that some energy or sports drinks contained up to 20 teaspoons of sugar – that’s more than three times the recommended amount that adults should consume in one day.

Obesity

While youngsters often believed that these drinks would boost their performance in sports and schoolwork, the report claimed that they actually have a hugely detrimental effect on young people’s health. “Children are being deceived into drinking large cans of this stuff, thinking they are going to improve their performance at school, during sports, or even on a night out,” said Graham MacGregor, chairman at Action on Sugar. “In reality all they are doing is increasing their risk of developing obesity or type 2 diabetes which will have lifelong implications on their health. Type 2 diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, limb amputation and kidney dialysis – hardly the image of a healthy, active person.”

Energy drinks not targeted at children

The British Soft Drinks Association (BDSA) argues that drinks labelled as being energising or stimulating were not being marketed at children. “These products are called energy drinks for a reason – they deliver a caffeine or glucose-based energy boost. They are now available in a variety of types, flavours and sizes – including a range of low and no calorie options – so consumers have a much wider choice,” commented BSDA director general Gavin Partington.  “BSDA members do not promote energy drinks to children under 16 and all products are clearly labelled in compliance with EU regulations.”

Addiction

Action on Sugar’s report recommended that sales of sugary energy drinks should be limited to over-16s, arguing that the products served “no purpose whatsoever” other than to get children and teenagers addicted to caffeine and make them crave more sugar. Kawther Hashem, a nutritionist for Action on Sugar warned against choosing even sugar-free versions of energy drinks: “Sugar-free options are available from some manufacturers but be aware these still contain high levels of caffeine or other stimulants, so are not a healthy option.”

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About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

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