Labels on caffeinated beverages may be misleading

A new study published in Consumer Reports finds that 11 of the 27 most popular brands of energy drinks in the U.S. do not indicate the amount of caffeine they contain on their labels. Of the 16 beverage manufacturers that do list their caffeine levels, five of them had an average of twenty percent more caffeine per serving than their labels specified.

According to the news source, the study was conducted after the recent death of a 14-year-old girl with a heart condition, which was linked to her consuming a Monster energy drink for two consecutive days. The girl’s family is pressing charges against the company.

In reference to the lack of labels on the company’s drinks, Reuters reports that a Monster Beverage official told Consumer Reports that, “There is no legal or commercial business requirement to do so, and because our products are completely safe, and the actual numbers are not meaningful to most consumers.”

Caffeine intake and effects
The Mayo Clinic reports that 200 to 300 milligrams of caffeine per day, which averages out to about two to four cups of coffee, is a safe amount for adults. Too much caffeine can lead to insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, upset stomach and rapid heart beat. Sensitivity to caffeine is dependent on body mass, age, medication and preexisting health conditions. The source also notes that men may be affected more by caffeine than women.

Some medications that alter the effects of caffeine, include antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro) and norfloxacin (Noroxin), according to the Mayo Clinic. These can lengthen the time that caffeine stays in one’s system and increase some of its effects. The herbal supplement Echinacea, which is used to help prevent colds, can interfere with the concentration of caffeine in one’s system and increase its effects.

Health benefits
Some caffeinated beverages have been shown to have health benefits. According to Harvard Medical School (HMS), recent studies indicate that coffee can decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, gallstones and liver damage. Coffee has also been shown to improve cognitive function and even prevent Parkinson’s disease.

Studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have shown that caffeine may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life. According to the University of Maryland (UMD), higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids may also be linked to a reduced risk of developing the neurological disorder. You can get omega-3 fatty acids from flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp milk and an Omegakrill supplement from Dr. Newton’s Naturals.


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