Energy drink cans 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A warning about caffeine-filled “energy drinks” that are consumed to excess was issued by the Health Ministry on Sunday, with the ministry adding it might limit their sale only to those over 18, like alcoholic beverages.
The ministry said that youngsters already get high amounts of caffeine from cola drinks, flavored water drinks, chocolate and pills. It is a pharmacology substance that increases alertness and relieves tiredness, expands and constrict blood vessels, reduces or increases headaches, raises blood pressure and increases urine production.
Excess consumption can cause irregular heartbeat, headaches, insomnia,
irritation, tension, dehydration, anxiety, appetite loss, diarrhea,
shaky hands, dizziness and an increased risk of addiction to caffeine,
nicotine, alcohol and cannabis. Younger children are more liable to have
these reactions than adults.
Energy drinks also seriously damage the teeth due to their sugar and acid.
Many young people, meanwhile, have been mixing energy drinks with
alcoholic beverages to neutralize depressive symptoms that can result
from drinking alcohol, the ministry said.
This dangerous combination can increase undesirable sexual activity, driving when drunk, fights and physical harm.
Among the ingredients in energy drinks are high concentrations of
caffeine, as well as taurine, guarana, acai, ginseng, ginkgo biloba,
maltodextrin, inositol, carnitine, creatine and glucuronolactone. In the
US, the Food and Drug Administration recently expressed its concern
that some are being made with alcohol mixed in, and this combination has
already caused illness and even deaths.
The first drink marketed to improve the performance of athletes and
sports stars appeared in the 1960s. It was invented for the football
team at the University of Florida, known as the Gators, and was named
The ministry said that here, the price of Red Bull – released in 1987 –
has become so cheap (about NIS 2.5 a can) that it’s widely consumed by
children and teenagers. Other companies offering similar drinks have
followed. The drinks are aggressively marketed to young people and are
available in supermarkets, kiosks, vending machines, cafeterias and
The ministry has put warnings on energy drinks relating to their high
level of caffeine and discourages pregnant women and children under 12
from consuming them at all. But it said that it is working on additional
activities, including working with the Education Ministry to discuss
the dangers in schools and warn parents, teachers and young people.
Red Bull was banned in France after the death of 18-year-old Irish
athlete Ross Cooney, who died as a result of playing a basketball game
after consuming four cans of the drink, but the ban was challenged in
the European Court of Justice in 2004.
Denmark also banned Red Bull for a while, but the ban was recently revoked due to protests.