My USA Today column: Should energy drinks be treated like drugs?


usa_today_logoEnergy drinks are a booming industry, and safety concerns are starting to come to light.

I write about these caffeine-fueled beverages in my latest USA Today column: Treat energy drinks like drugs.

Safety concerns require energy drinks to be more closely scrutinized. Beverage manufacturers should clearly label the caffeine content. Adults should limit their caffeine intake to about 500 mg per day (or about two tall cups of Starbucks brewed coffee), less for teens and older patients and those with heart or liver problems. Doctors need to do a better job screening for and counseling those who consume high amounts of energy drinks. Finally, we should consider the approach taken by our neighboring countries.

Canada will soon cap energy drink caffeine content to 180 mg per can or bottle, which, if instituted in the U.S., would require reformulation of a substantial number of drinks. Mexico is seeking to ban the sales of energy drinks to those younger than 18.

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