Red Bull entered the U.S. caffeinated beverage market in 1997 with 66.7 mg of caffeine and claims such as "increased concentration" and "stimulates the metabolism." But things have sure changed since then.
According to the Miami Herald, energy drinks on the market now, with names such as Blow, Bawls, Monster, Rockstar, Pimp Juice, Dopamine, SoBe No Fear, and Spike Shooter, can contain up to 350 mg, which is equal to 10 cans of Coke. (A typical cup of drip coffee has about 100 mg of caffeine.)
The drinks have grown in popularity, with $4.7 billion in sales in 2007, up from $3.5 billion in 2006. But this has health professionals worried about who's drinking them.
Studies have linked excessive caffeine in children to elevated heart rates, hypertension, anxiety, headaches and interrupted sleep patterns, according to the article.
Dr. Deanna Soloway, assistant medical director of the pediatric emergency room at Hollywood's Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, said in the article, "We have been seeing lots of kids coming in with anxiety attacks. One of the routine questions we ask them is about their intake of energy drinks. I believe there is some connection between the use of energy drinks and hypertension, elevated heart rate, jitters."
The Florida Poison Control Center at the University of Miami/Jackson reported that 39 people ages 2 to 20 had symptoms of caffeine overexposure between January 2007 and March 2008. Statewide, the number was 125 during this period.
Dr. Steven Lipshultz, chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, reminds parents that children digest things differently. The article quotes him: "If you're a 200-pound adult, an 8-ounce bottle of something that contains 250 mg of caffeine may not be a big deal, but if you weigh 60 pounds and are getting the same dose" it's a problem.
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