Who are energy drinks for?
Energy drinks contain about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of home-brewed filter coffee. People have different acceptance levels to caffeine. Therefore, the daily caffeine consumption should correspond to a person’s intake of coffee. Energy drinks declare their caffeine content on the label, so consumers can make informed choices.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Doctors usually advise pregnant women to reduce their caffeine consumption. Many authorities around the world have looked into the effects of caffeine. Health Canada scientists conducted an extensive review of the scientific literature on caffeine (Nawrot et al., 2003). Based on this review, they concluded that the general population of healthy adults is not at risk for potential adverse effects from caffeine if they limit their consumption to 400 mg per day. This has been confirmed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA, 2015). However, EFSA recommends that pregnant and breastfeeding women limit their daily caffeine intake to 200 mg per day.
The rules for the labelling of caffeine-containing beverages are the same across the EU (Food Information to Consumers Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011) Beverages containing more than 150 mg/l must indicate the caffeine content and carry the advisory statement “High caffeine content. Not recommended for children or pregnant or breast-feeding women” followed by the caffeine content in brackets expressed in mg per 100 ml on the label.
Typically energy drinks have a caffeine content of approx. 32 mg per 100 ml and declare their caffeine content on the label, so consumers across the EU can make informed choices.
Children and adolescents
Energy drinks contain approximately the same amount of caffeine as a cup of home-brewed filter coffee. Long before the Food Information to Consumers Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 was put in place, which prescribes the following advisory statement “High caffeine content. Not recommended for children or pregnant or breast-feeding women”, energy drink manufacturers had already committed themselves to not recommend their products to children (defined as those under 12 years old by UNESDA).
Energy drink manufacturers are committed through the EDE Code of Practiceto focus their marketing efforts to the adult population. However, both adults and adolescents can safely consume energy drinks, like any other food or beverage product, as part of a balanced diet and healthy/active lifestyle. Based on current guidance by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), daily caffeine intakes of 400 mg for adults and 3 mg/kg body weight for adolescents are considered safe. This means that, depending on body weight, adolescents could safely consume 1-2 cans (250 ml) of a typical energy drink per day.