A recent study on energy drinks in The Journal of the American Medical Association is a perfect example of shoddy science that misleads people, according to one of the world’s foremost experts on caffeine.
The study is “totally sensationalism,” says Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, a professor at Ontario’s McMaster University Medical Center.
Dr. Tarnopolsky broke down the study done by researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who examined 25 people who drank a 16-ounce energy drink containing 240 milligrams of caffeine. Because blood pressure increased, they concluded that this could increase cardiovascular risk. Reporters wrote scary headlines about the findings, without ever checking them out.
As Dr. Tarnopolsky points out, the rise in blood pressure was no different than what happens when one has an equivalent cup of coffee.
“It’s the caffeine that’s doing it,” he said.
People who never drink caffeine will likely experience a jump in blood pressure after drinking an energy drink, he said, but like coffee, the effect goes away. He said that a study published in 1981 revealed that if you have 250 milligrams of caffeine daily, the increase in blood pressure disappears anywhere between day one to day four.
The truth is that that most energy drinks contain significantly less caffeine than a similarly-sized coffee from your favorite coffeehouse. In fact, many contain about half. A 16-ounce energy drink typically contains between 160 and 240 milligrams of caffeine; the same size coffeehouse coffee contains around 300 to 330 milligrams of caffeine.
We know that caffeine has been consumed safely for thousands for years. In the U.S., energy drinks are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. And leading energy drink makers voluntarily display total caffeine amounts from all sources on their packages so consumers know exactly what they’re getting. To ensure parents have control over what their children drink, the companies display an advisory statement indicating that energy drinks are not intended (or recommended) for children.
Get the facts about energy drinks at EnergyDrinkInformation.com.