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USA Today reports that while energy drink sales are “soaring” - up more than 13 percent last year - so are concerns about their potential health impact, especially on young people who consume frequently with gusto.

The story says that “the Food and Drug Administration limits the amount of caffeine in soft drinks to 71 mg for 12 ounces but doesn't regulate the caffeine in energy drinks, coffee or tea;” the paper writes that “American Beverage Association science chief Maureen Storey says energy drinks are no worse than coffee. A 16-ounce cup of Starbucks' Pike Place coffee has 330 mg of caffeine. That size of latte has 160 mg — the same as a 16-ounce can of the energy drink Monster Energy, which bills itself as ‘a killer energy brew’ that ‘you can really pound down’.”

It is the “pound down” part that worries some folks.

“Barbara Crouch, head of Utah's poison control center, says people typically don't ‘gulp’ coffee like they do energy drinks and shots,” USA Today writes. “This leads them to accumulate higher concentrations of caffeine more quickly, which can cause anxiousness, palpitations and ‘more significant heart-rhythm disturbances.’ She also worries about young athletes drinking them because they are dehydrating.

“The American Association of Poison Control Centers, which started tracking energy-drink incidents this year, received 340 such reports from January through March 3. Most were minor. A recent report in Pediatrics warned about links between caffeine in energy drinks, high blood pressure, increased alcohol consumption and even addiction among young people.

“Reports of people, including teens, with serious medical problems after consuming energy drinks are on the rise.”
KC's View:
It has been the long-held, oft-stated position here on MNB that these energy drinks are a disaster waiting to happen. Retailers who sell them and manufacturers who make them ought to be prepared for a potential backlash when some high-profile incident occurs that throws the long-term future of this category into serious doubt.