Energy Drinks and Children – Is there any harm?

child looking at different types of energy drinks

Children in the UK drink energy drinks such as Monster Energy and Red Bull at a higher rate when compared to other countries in Europe, with the drinks, which were initially only drank by adults, now being drunk by children at a far higher rate! But is this even a problem? or is it blown out of proportion and no worse than your average cup of coffee?

Energy drinks are classified as soft drinks (other soft drinks include Coke and Pepsi) containing more than 150mg of caffeine per litre, even though many brands of energy drinks contain more than twice that amount, which while on average still less than a cup of coffee still has enough caffeine per litre to exceed the fairly low recommended daily allowance for children, many cans of energy drinks count as 2 servings, with it even saying that on the can!

The issue more comes down to the ease of drinking an energy drink over a coffee, if you brew a coffee you have to wait at least 20 minutes for it to cool down, and the taste is far more acquired, especially when compared to the easy to drink and fruity flavors of most energy drinks, you could have 2 energy drinks in the space it takes to drink one coffee, and that is where the principle issue lies.

The other thing about energy drinks that separates it from coffee, there is more than just caffeine in an energy drink, containing things such as the guanine and taurine, of which we have no studies in children to show the short or long term effects this combination can have on children.

Luckily, in the UK, many branches have added energy drinks to the “Challenge 25” scheme which essentially means that people who don’t look 25 cannot buy an energy drink without showing ID, and as the minimum age for high caffeine drinks is 16, so helps to ensure children do not have easy access to energy drinks.

Overall, studies show that, realistically, children shouldn’t be having energy drinks, as they are worse than your standard cup of coffee.

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