Why Energy Drink Should be Banned to Adolescents in United States: An Argumentative Essay
There are also teachers who are call for the banning of the use and consumption of energy drinks by their students due to the fear that these beverages can affect both the performance and the behaviors of their learners.
Health experts have pose concern on the adverse effects that can be caused by energy drinks especially among adolescents. However, those manufacturing companies claimed that their products are safe and appropriate to be marketed to children and teenagers. It was revealed in many studies and featured news stories that the energy drinks available in the market are dangerous and contains hazardous substances that can affect the health of the young individuals especially those who are between two (2) to nineteen years old, hence it should be banned from being sold in children and adolescents.
As compared with alcoholic beverages, the sales and profit of energy drinks have continued to increase especially those products which are caffeinated. It is revealed in studies that these products can pose danger on the health of its consumers especially those individuals who are below 18 years old (Heneman & Zidenberg-Chen). Moreover, there are proofs that these energy drinks have higher chance of causing caffeine toxicity. In addition, it can also cause disturbances on the psychological and behavioral aspects of the individual
In a survey conducted there are 30% to 50% of adolescents and young adults who are taking energy drinks (Clinical Advisor). It has been found out in clinical studies that energy drink contains high and unregulated amount of caffeine. Further it was also reported that energy drinks have ingredients which cause adverse effect on its consumer especially among children and adolescents (John, et,al). This claim had been supported by Peralta in enumerating the possible side effects of energy drinks which include seizures among young adults, higher risks of diabetes, possibility of developing cardiac abnormalities and alterations on the mood and behavior especially among those who have medication (Sifferlin). In the 2007 report of those patients who suffer from overdose, 46% happened among adolescents aging below 19 years old (Martz, et.al). Because of these instances, several countries have banned the selling of energy drink for young adults and adolescents. It is for these reasons, why United States America like other countries should also banned the selling of energy drinks in adolescents especially those who are only two to nineteen years old (2-19). However, is it really necessary that these drinks be prohibited among the young citizens of the US? What benefits could the society get from banning these products?
Reasons for Banning
The issue on banning energy drinks in United States of America has become the interested topics among newspapers and media especially because of the potential risks that it can cause to the citizens below 19 years old. Among the three reasons why these beverages be prohibited for the adolescents are: a) it has more potential negative effects compared to the benefits it caused; b) energy drink is the main reason for emergency-admission cases among adolescents; c) more energy drinks are unregulated by the FDA.
Energy drinks were found to have contain caffeine, sugar and other chemicals that can temporarily enhanced the physiological performance. Among these substances are guarana, sugar and taurine. Guarana is native plant in Southern America which mainly contain caffeine-compound known as the guaranine (Harris & Munsell). It is found out in clinical studies that 1 gram of guarana is equivalent to 40 mg of caffeine. Worst, is that most manufacturers of energy drinks do not declare that there products has guarana, therefore the product is out in the market without the test conducted by FDA. This situation means greater risks on the part of its consumers particularly those who are below 18 years old.
Sugar on the other hand is another component of energy drinks and is in the form of sucrose, glucose or in some cases fructose. The sugar content of regular-sized (8 oz) energy drink ranges from 21 grams to 34 grams. This means that a child consuming 2 to 3 drinks everyday has consumed a total of 120-180 grams of sugar which is definitely 4 to 6 times higher that the prescribed daily dosage of sugar. Hence, this contributes to the risk of becoming obese and acquires dental problems (Bonar, et.al). Taurine is another component, which is a form of amino acid and aids in the development of the brain. Moreover, it regulates the levels of water and mineral in the body. Consuming energy drink can cause higher consumption of taurine as compared to the normal consumption in a daily diet. Though there is no concrete evidence that excess of this amino acid can cause problems in one’s health still there are claims that is can be unhealthy and may pose danger on the system. It is a fact also that despite the claims of manufacturers that there energy drinks are healthy and are good dietary supplements, still most of these products were not tested by the Food and Drug Administration and contain unregulated substances.
Energy drink had been believed to have chemicals that can help in boosting energy and enhancing the person’s performance. This claim had been proven in the study conducted by Abian, del Coso, et.al wherein badminton player who drink energy drinks before the game showed improvement in their performance especially on the strength of their muscles. However, after a day the adverse effect was observe such as bad case of insomnia. This is due to the fact that energy drinks are basically full of sugar and caffeine. In a survey conducted among common-marketed energy drinks, every 250ml of energy drink contains at least 10 teaspoon of sugar (Emond, Sargent & Gilbert). This has been aggravated by the fact that most of the teenagers obtain their 30% sugar from soft drinks and energy-booster beverages (Harris & Munsell). Hence, there had been campaign by government agencies and health organizations to have a campaign on the cutting down of sugar intake among the people. Moroever, in a study conducted by peacock, Nicolas, et.al it was found out that most of the Energy drinks available in the market, Lucozade, for instance is packed with stimulants. It was even found out in surveys conducted among common energy drinks that most of these drinks contain 13 teaspoons of sugar and at least 160mg of caffeine (Bonar, et.al). These chemicals are indeed dangerous and definitely pose potential hazards among children. So, it is indeed important that the move for banning energy drinks for adolescents be strengthened.
Cause of Emergency-admission Cases
Secondly, ingredients of energy drinks are not regulated and some of them are present in excess amounts which pose risks for the children to acquire serious illnesses. In the study conducted by the British Soft Drinks Association, they have found out that energy drinks basically contain glucose and caffeine in unregulated amount. It is a major concern among health care professionals and policy makers to assess the caffeine intake of adolescents and children. Basically, soda and tea are the chief sources of caffeine in the diet of adolescents and children. In the survey conducted on the sales of energy drinks and food products such as candy bars, gums and potato chips, it was found out that the sales have increased dramatically. This is an indication that these products are indeed marketed to children and young adults. The US Food and Drug Administration have considered caffeine as a harmless product but it is found to have adverse effects to children and adolescents (Mora-Rodriguez & Pallaes).
It was revealed in a study conducted among energy drinks that most of them are overloaded with stiff quantity of sugar and caffeine to the extent of one to three cups of coffee (Heneman & Zidenberg-Chen). The excessive amount of sugar in drinks which are consumed by children is one of the reasons that can cause hazard to the child’s dental health and to the gain of weight. Excessive caffeine on the other hand can pose risks on the adolescent’s attention and mental performance (Sifferlin). Caffeine is widely used as stimulant however if it utilized in small children it can have adverse effect on them. It has been found out that the excessive amount of caffeine in adults can cause nervousness and jittery, can upset one’s stomach and headaches; can cause difficulty in breathing and sleeping and frequent urination. These effects can be more serious in children which include having irregular heartbeats, increase the blood pressure, can cause hallucination and even seizures particularly for those kids who are under medications (Clinical Advisor).
Moreover, the energy drinks have caffeine content which are not regulated by FDA unlike the soda drinks because energy drinks are produced in the markets as dietary supplements (Bonar, del Coso, et.al).Clinical studies revealed that excessive consumption of caffeine can lead to the development of health problems such as tachycardia, arrhythmia, hypertension, hyperactivity, anxiety, and increased blood sugar concentrations especially that most energy drinks contain large amount of caffeine and in some cases sugar (Harris & Munsell). It has been found out among case reports that one of the dangers of excessive caffeine intake among adolescents is the caffeine toxicity and deaths (Bonan, et.al). Hence, it is mandated by the American Academy of Pediatrics that caffeine be eliminated from the diets of children to adolescents, thereby supporting the ban of selling energy drinks to these group of population. Furthermore, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Institute of Medicine have also provided guidance for caffeine as a nutrient and diet supplement.
Unregulated ingredients by FDA
Another reason why energy drink should be banned among adolescents and children is because of the harmful ingredients that it contains (Heneman & Zidenberg-Chen). It was found out in the studies that leading energy drinks like Monster, Red Bull and Relentless contain sugar in excessive amount that are hazardous to the health of the children (John, et.al). In asurvey of emergency cases among hospitals in Florida, the IOM found out that there is an increase in emergency cases which is caused by overdose of caffeine from energy drink (Bonar, et.al). Moreover, there are also other cases wherein in the safety and medical conditions of these energy drinks are being questioned. There are also health practitioners that support the banning of the energy drinks for adolescents and children for the reason that energy drinks are just other form of drugs (Abian, et.al). Abian, et.al cited that allowing these excessive amounts of caffeine and sugar in energy drinks which are primary consumed by children is just similar to allowing the utilization of drugs in school and on our youth (Peacock, et.al).
Most of the energy drinks have ingredients in which its effects on children are not tested. Some manufacturers declared that their products contain herbal compounds such as guarana which is a source of caffeine and taurine, a kind of amino acids that increase the performance and also posses the same effect as that of caffeine (Harris & Munsell). These simply illustrate that indeed energy drinks can pose danger for its young consumers and therefore should be prohibited.
There have been several reported cases that energy drinks have caused its consumer to be hospitalized. Sharon Osborne for example, the X factor judge had brought her daughter to the emergency room for the uncontrollable seizure after the child had taken energy drink. There are also other reports from teachers citing that similar other cases of their students had occurred after drinking energy drinks.
Bonar, et.al cited that in just 5 years (2007 to 2011) there has been a dramatic increase in emergency department visits which are attributed to the consumption of energy drinks. Combining energy drinks with alcohol was terribly alarming. Among the common reason why alcohol beverages are mixed with energy drink is to mask the smell and the alcoholic taste. It is then proven in the study that the combination of alcohol and energy drink pose higher risk in the alteration of behaviors such as the abuse of drugs, engagement in sexual acts and driving while under the influence of drugs/alcohol (Bonar, et.al).
Energy drinks are definitely not harmful substance. It is manufactured primarily in order to boost the stamina and to strengthen one’s physical performance. In a study conducted by Ivy, et.al, the consumption of energy drinks by athletes illustrate that taking commercial energy drink before the conduct of physical exercises and activities can definitely enhance the stamina and performance of the consumer. This enhancement of the activity is attributed to the increased effort in the absence of the concomitant exertion (Clinical Advisors).
In the advertisements and commercial promotions of energy drinks it can be noted that the energy manufacturers presented their products in a more appealing way that surely attracts teenagers to try and use ED. Their presentations illustrate that their products are indeed energy-booster and has no negative effects on the drinker. However, this is contrary to what nutritionists and health experts have found out in their research. The IOM and FDA clearly expressed that along with the advertisements presented, there must be media literacy that will inform and educate the adolescents and teenagers with the potential danger that ED might cause.
With the results being reported by several studies about energy drinks, the World Health Organization along with other health agencies have recommended that the caffeine and sugar content be cut down (Harris & Zidenberg-Chen). They have proposed a 5% energy intake from these products. Moreover, the FDA had commissioned the Institute of Medicine to scrutinize the issue in order that educated and appropriate actions will be taken and the amount of hazardous ingredients be minimized (Clinical Advisor). The Food and Drug administration thereby declare that they have to conduct thorough investigation in terms of the safety-level of caffeine among food products and food supplements. Hence, more research is required in for comprehensive association of the energy drink consumption to the effect on the physiological and behavioral aspect of the consumer. For the meantime, policy makers as well as health experts have called for the energy drink manufacturing companies to voluntarily cut down the caffeine and sugar content of their products. This is in order to ensure that the potential harm of these products will be minimized. Moreover, additional regulatory policies and legislation will also be implemented and one of it is the prohibition of energy drinks in school canteens and the banning of selling energy drinks to adolescents in general.
With all the negative effects of energy drink that is revealed by the studies, it is then right that every individual in this country will support the ban of energy drinks for the adolescents and children. This is to ensure that children will not experience the adverse effects that can be caused by these supplements which caffeine and sugar content are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.