As has been reported extensively, the Food and Drug Administration has received several recent reports of alleged side-effects sustained by consumers who have ingested energy drinks. Predictably, the news stories were immediately followed by hasty calls to ban or restrict these drinks and supplements.
The reports submitted to the FDA, in most cases filed by consumers themselves, detail serious and sometimes life-threatening health problems, including convulsions, heart attacks and death after consuming energy drinks. The FDA does not consider the reports proof the drinks were in any way related to health problems, but it does lead the agency to look more closely at the products mentioned. According to FDA representative Shelly Burgess:
“As with any reports of a death or injury the agency receives we take them very seriously and investigate diligently...Under the law, Adverse Event Reports serve as a signal to FDA and do not prove causation between a product or ingredient and an adverse event.”
It is important to make sure the things we consume are safe, but current reaction by media, lawmakers and public health advocates about a small number of incidents that may or may not be related to energy drinks is out of proportion. Nearly 1 million people have heart attacks in America every year, and most did not consume energy drinks. Considering hundreds of millions of cans of energy drinks sold in the U.S. every year, it is safe to say the vast majority of people can tolerate such products without serious cardiac problems.
Anything we ingest can have negative side effects (including water) depending on the quantity consumed and a person’s unique health conditions. This is why it is up to each individual to make food and drink choices for themselves and in consultation with their own physician. It’s terrible when someone accidentally aggravates an unknown medical condition, but that is not a reason to restrict access to that product for everyone.
image via the foodnetwork