Annurca | Energy drinks: A teenagers go to energy source.
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Energy drinks: A teenagers go to energy source.

Energy drinks: A teenagers go to energy source.

Over recent years, the sales and development of lines of energy drinks have soared in this country. Many seeing them as the ‘pick me up’ needed to help people get through their day, or some just purely enjoy the taste of them. There are several types of energy drinks available to us at the moment, various brands and flavours, all enjoying successful period of sales. It’s not like they aren’t easily accessible, as these brands of energy drinks are sold within many shops, supermarkets, petrol stations, retail stores, the list could go on! And this is across the entire country!

However a recent report by the BBC states that energy drinks should be banned for children in particular for those who are under the age of 16. This was recently reported based upon information from the campaign and research group, Action on Sugar. The team surveyed the nutritional labels of 197 drinks found in supermarkets and online. One had up to 10 teaspoons of sugar per 250ml! This is twice as much as others surveyed. It is thought teenagers get 30% of their sugar from soft drinks. Health officials say government campaigns already encourage people to have fewer sugary drinks.

This report came as no shock to us here at Annurca! For a long time Annurca have been working with schools to try and educate pupils about making healthier lifestyle choices. These choices enable pupils to have better concentration levels for their studies as well as giving them an enhanced physical response to exercise / physical activity. In the long term these choices will help prevent individuals from obesity issues.

So how do we cut down on these energy drinks? Energy drinks can be very addictive if consumed regularly, however researchers from Action on Sugar are calling for strict limits on added sugars. They argue that as the body can generate energy from food such as fruits, vegetables, pasta and rice, there is no need for additional sugar beyond this, such as energy drinks. The survey they have produced includes various branded and supermarket products with words like energising, stimulation or caffeine on the product name as well as beverages found in energy drinks sections in supermarkets. Action on Sugar state there is no reason why the sugar levels should be cut down from these products.

The report presented an interesting quote from Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of Action on Sugar, who said: “Children are being deceived into drinking large cans of this stuff, thinking they are going to improve their performance at school, during sports, or even on a night out.

“In reality all they are doing is increasing their risk of developing obesity or type 2 diabetes which will have lifelong implications on their health.

“Type 2 diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, limb amputation and kidney dialysis – hardly the image of a healthy, active person.”

Another quote from The British Soft Drinks Association (BDSA) says: “These products are called energy drinks for a reason – they deliver a caffeine or glucose-based energy boost.

“They are now available in a variety of types, flavours and sizes, including a range of low and no-calorie options, so that consumers have a much wider choice.

“BSDA members do not promote energy drinks to children under 16 and all products are clearly labelled in compliance with EU regulations.”

So what changes could be made? Dr Alison Tedstone of Public Health England said: “Energy drinks are usually high in sugar, which causes tooth decay, and also high in calories.

“Teenagers are consuming 50% more sugar than the maximum recommended amount and the biggest contribution comes from sugary drinks.

“The Change4Life Sugar Swaps campaign aims to help families cut down on their sugar intake by making simple changes like swapping sugary drinks for water, lower-fat milks or sugar-free, diet, no added sugar drinks.”

So there are campaigns out there aiming towards helping people and families cut down their sugar intake, such as energy drinks and swapping them for healthier alternatives. If this is achieved, you would think it would reduce the amount teenagers adopting energy drinks as a common source of sugar intake and then relying on these beverages to help increase their energy levels. However the proposition of reducing the amount of energy drinks in supermarkets and various shops does appear to be a difficult task, due to the high accessibility rates of these products.

Both the World Health Organization and government advisers in England have recently proposed a cut in their recommendations for daily sugar consumption. They state that the proposed new target is 5% of energy intake from free sugars amounts to about 25g for women (five to six teaspoons) and 35g (seven to eight teaspoons) for men, based on the average diet.

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