Monday, 9 July 2018

Children and 'Energy Drinks'

It has been reported that UK children consume more 'energy drinks' than any of their counterparts in other countries (https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jul/09/flying-high-kids-in-the-uk-are-wild-about-energy-drinks-but-how-harmful-are-they) and there is a debate about whether this billion pound industry is harmful or not to this cohort. The 'energy drinks' do contain energy (usually in the form of glucose) but generally also deliver high doses of caffeine. There is consequently some concern that taking such materials on board might be linked to hyperactivity and failure to concentrate. I would (and have) argued, however, that the term 'energy drink' is misleading. In many cases, taking a slug of glucose causes a condition called reactive hypoglycaemia (the intake of the sugar releases insulin, causing blood sugar levels to fall below their normal levels).  This results in the ingester actually having less energy to do things. It would be interesting to assess whether the taking in of such fluids by children has a major role in the development of type 2 diabetes.

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