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Energy Drinks Dangerous For Kids, Research Shows

Energy Drinks

First Posted: 02/14/11 01:23 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:30 PM ET

Cramming for the SATs might get a whole lot harder once Mom and Dad hear new research that energy drinks could be dangerous for children's health.

According to a new report in the March issue of Pediatrics, 30 to 50 percent of adolescents and young adults cop to drinking energy-boosting beverages. And because the FDA categorizes them as nutritional supplements, energy drinks are allowed to bypass the 71mg-of-caffeine-per-12-ounces limit the agency has set for soda. Which explains why some varieties can have up to five times that amount of caffeine in just one can.

The dangers, researchers report, can be serious, particularly for kids who have diabetes, cardiac abnormalities or mood disorders. A caffeine overdose can result in breathing trouble, rapid heartbeat and hallucinations. Which might be why energy drinks were recently given unique reporting codes so that U.S. Poison Centers can track the prevalence of incidents directly tied to energy-drink overdose.

This bad news for energy drinks comes after this fall's ban on Four Loko, the caffeinated alcoholic drink, and recent reports that relaxation drinks are now becoming a popular beverage. Drinks like Malava Novocaine and Mary Jane's Relaxing Soda are now being sold in the U.S. and some of the options on the market are laced with marijuana. Seriously, what is so wrong with a cup of good old Chamomile tea?

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Filed by Catherine Pearson  |