iStock_000005235439XSmallA couple of years ago, I wrote a post about teens and energy drinks, and mentioned that because energy drinks are “nutritional supplements”, they didn’t have to adhere to certain FDA standards. However, that may change. Monster Energy Drinks have decided to market their products as “beverages”, not nutritional supplements, meaning that they must list ingredients in more detail, including caffeine. While a reasonable amount of caffeine has not been shown to harm healthy adults, caffeine may not be healthy for teens.

A 14-year-old recently died of caffeine toxicity after consuming two energy drinks. She unwittingly imbibed 480 milligrams of caffeine, equivalent to about three 16-ounce Starbucks lattes. She had a heart condition called a mitral valve prolapse. This condition is quite common and often undiscovered, affecting about 5% of the U.S. population (including me.)

You may be thinking, “Well, I drink more than that before 2 pm.” While the health care community agrees that adults who consume over 500 mg of caffeine a day might want to cut back, the recommended limit for teens is 100 mg a day or less. That’s the amount in a small cup of coffee, depending on how strongly it’s brewed, two cups of black tea, two 12-ounce Mountain Dews, or a cup of chocolate chips.

I think energy drinks taste like liquid candy, which I find a bit repellent, but many teens down them like- well, candy. See my post about energy drinks and tell me what you think. Do you let your teen drink energy drinks? Do you drink energy drinks?

Teens, Energy Drinks, and Health