Energy Drinks Linked to Mental Health Deficits

Research in the UK links energy drinks to mental health issues in children and teenagers, prompting calls for a ban.
4 teen boys sitting together

There’s a growing body of research that strongly asserts that energy drinks are not healthy for kids. There is a strong link of the consumption of these drinks to mental health deficits and related issues. In fact, there’s a calling for all energy drinks to be banned for all children and teenagers in the UK due to the overwhelming evidence that energy drinks are just that damaging to kids.

A recent study in the UK highlights more risks than previously found, such as anxiety, stress, and suicidal thoughts. These drinks often contain high level of caffeine and sugar, and are sold as providing an energy boost. Most UK supermarkets have introduced a voluntary ban on the sale of energy drinks to children under 16 years old.

Dr. Amelia Lake, professor of public health nutrition at Teesside University, who led the review, looked at 57 recent studies of energy drinks and their impact on young people’s health. More than one million children from 21 countries were included.

“The evidence is clear that energy drinks are harmful to the mental and physical health of children and young people, as well as their behavior and education,” she said. “We need to take action now to protect them from these risks.”

Dr. Lake also said that, although their research could not prove that energy drinks directly caused the health harms, because dietary studies are always observational, the findings were important and the best available evidence.

It’s possible that energy drinks are linked to health harms because those who consume them frequently are more likely to be unhealthy in other ways – such as smoking or drinking alcohol, for example.

Since we’re all concerned about the mental health issues within our youth community, in our country and all over the world, we should attempt to eliminate any contributing factors to make the problem worse. This research is something parents, caregivers, and communities should be aware of as we provide care for our kids who use these drinks to boost their energy. The advertising we see in the media typically does not publish the warnings that these drinks may be damaging to the mental health and well-being of our youth. It will be up to those who oversee them to provide guidance to what they consume in light of these consequences.

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