Two reports from researchers at the University at Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions demonstrate a link between frequent consumption (6 or more days a month) of energy drinks and risky substance use, sexual risk-taking and hyper-masculinity called “toxic jock identity”.
Energy drinks marketed under brand names like Monster and Red Bull have become increasingly popular with teens and college aged kids over the past several years, using sexual appeal and extreme sports themes. The drinks can contain up to 10 times as much caffeine as caffeinated soft drinks along with other ingredients like the amino acid taurine, vitamins and plant extracts that can create unintended interactions. So much so that researchers at Johns Hopkins University say that these drinks should carry labels indicating caffeine content and warn of potential health risks.
Several countries have instituted restrictions in the wake of a series of deaths linked to energy drinks. Canada now requires warning labels while countries like France, Turkey, Denmark, Norway, Uruguay and Iceland have banned high caffeine/taurine drinks outright.
While researchers at the University at Buffalo caution that consumption of energy drinks is not a gateway to more serious activity, frequent energy drink consumption can be used as a warning sign to indentify young people at risk for unhealthy and dangerous behaviors.
University at Buffalo (2008, July 25). Energy Drinks Linked To Risk-taking Behaviors Among College Students. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 4, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2008/07/080724150438.htm