This article summarizes recent research, including a November 2010 literature
review in The Mayo Clinic Proceedings, that has questioned the effectiveness
and safety of energy beverages (E.B.’s). According to Times journalist
Jane Brody, the Mayo study “noted that the drinks contain high levels of
caffeine and warned that certain susceptible people risk dangerous, even
life-threatening effects on blood pressure, heart rate and brain function.” In
addition to recording “four documented cases of caffeine-associated death,”
the authors also expressed concern about “whether long-term use of E.B.’s by
[teens and young adults] will translate into deleterious effects later.” As one
of the contributors, Troy Tuttle, reportedly said in an interview, “Almost all the
studies done on energy drinks have involved small sample sizes of young,
healthy individuals in whom you’re unlikely to see short-term ill effects. But
what about the long term? What about liver and cardiovascular disease,
insulin resistance and diabetes?”

Despite the American Beverage Association’s contention that most mainstream
E.B. brands “voluntarily put statements on their containers, including
advisories about use by people sensitive to caffeine,” Tuttle has urged the
Food and Drug Administration to “step in and regulate this market.” His call for
tighter marketing restrictions has also drawn support from health advocates
who have cautioned consumers against mixing E.B.s with alcohol.

“Caffeine is being treated as a flavoring agent, not a drug,” one doctor of
pharmacy was quoted as saying. He added that while the “average healthy
person who consumes one serving of an energy drink is unlikely to encounter
difficulty,” “toxic jocks” and those with underlying heart conditions are “most
likely to get into trouble.”

About The Author


For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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