Energy drinks myths
Energy drinks contain higher amounts of caffeine than coffee.
The majority of energy drinks contain the same or even lower levels of caffeine than a cup of coffee, which has been enjoyed daily by millions of consumers around the world for hundreds of years.
Energy drinks are not regulated.
Energy drinks, their ingredients, and their labelling are comprehensively regulated within the European Union (see Regulation section).
Consumers can’t know how much caffeine is present in an energy drink.
There are several ways to find the exact caffeine amount in an energy drink. The indication of the total amount of caffeine from all sources on the label of an energy drink is a legal requirement in the EU. Furthermore, this info is also available on company and/or product websites as well as on consumer hotlines companies provide.
Energy drinks contain high amounts of sugar.
A 250 ml can of a typical energy drink contains the same amount of sugars as in the same-sized apple juice, orange juice or conventional soft drink. Like any foods or beverages, energy drinks should be consumed in moderation and as part of a balanced and varied diet and healthy lifestyle. For those who wish to have energy drink´s benefits without sugars, they are available in various formulas also in sugar-free variants so that consumers can choose the one that suits them best.
Caffeine is the characteristic ingredient in energy drinks. Its stimulating effect has been recognized for centuries. In 2011, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) positively assessed health claims for caffeine relating to increased alertness and increased attention. The EFSA Panel considered that, in order to bear the claim, a product should contain at least 75 mg caffeine per serving.
Considering the functionality of energy drinks, EDE members position packages with a net content of 250 ml (typically containing 80 mg of caffeine) as their main selling proposition for individual consumption (Code of Practice for the Marketing and Labelling of Energy Drinks (adopted, Brussels, 9 December 2014).
This is line with the current EFSA Opinion on the safety of caffeine and with the effort to consume sugar in moderation. Smaller cans contribute to such moderation. Therefore, EDE welcomes initiatives to limit serving sizes as adopted by retailers in NL and UK.
Taurine is a stimulant.
Taurine is an amino acid that is naturally found in the human body, as well as in common food items such as fish, scallops and poultry. Because taurine exists naturally in breast milk, it also is used as an ingredient in infant formula. Contrary to lay press and popular belief, taurine is not a stimulant and does not have stimulative effects on the central nervous system. In 2015 the European Food Safety Authority confirmed that possible stimulatory effects from taurine on the central nervous system are improbable.
Naturally occurring taurine is safer than synthetic taurine.
The myth that synthetically produced ingredients, which are also contained in most energy drinks are dangerous and unhealthy is false. Synthetically produced ingredients guarantee high and consistent quality. Manufactured ingredients comply with food regulatory requirements and have the same functionality as their natural counterparts.
Energy drinks are a new product category about which nobody knows anything.
Energy drinks have been safely enjoyed by consumers around the world for more than 25 years and represent only 1 % of the European non-alcoholic beverage market. People are well-informed by energy drink producers through product labels, leaflets and company and product websites.
Energy drinks are targeted at children.
Children have enough energy already. Energy drinks are not intended for children. Therefore, EDE members have voluntarily committed not to place any advertisements targeted at children. Furthermore, according to the Food Information to Consumers Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011, the advisory statement “Not recommended for children or pregnant or breast-feeding women” has to be placed on the label of energy drinks if they contain more than 150 mg/l of caffeine from whatever source.
Energy drinks are not allowed to be mixed with alcohol because it is dangerous.
Energy drinks are non-alcoholic beverages. Despite their mainly functional purpose, some consumers do mix energy drinks with alcoholic beverages. This has happened for decades if not centuries where alcoholic beverages have been mixed with colas, tonic water, soda water, ginger ale and all kinds of fruit juices.
There is no scientific reason why energy drinks should not be mixed with alcohol as long as consumers keep in mind that the excessive and irresponsible consumption of alcohol can have adverse effects on the human body and behaviour and that this is due to the alcoholic drink, not the mixer, be it a cola, orange juice, tonic or an energy drink. There is no indication that energy drinks have any specific effect (negative or positive) related to alcohol consumption. This was confirmed by the UK Governments Committee on Toxicity (2012), which concluded that “the current balance of evidence does not support a harmful toxicological or behavioural interaction between caffeine and alcohol”. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA, 2015) also found that, based on the available scientific evidence, there is no harmful interaction between alcohol and caffeine from any dietary source, including energy drinks.
Furthermore, EDE’s Code of Practice oblige EDE members to adhere to principles in this connection, please see our Code of Practice.