Calls for tougher regulation of energy drinks to protect public health

15 October 2014        

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is calling for tougher regulation of the energy drink market in Europe to protect the public against the adverse effects of excessive caffeine consumption.

The health organisation’s regional office for Europe says tighter restrictions are needed after carrying out a review into studies which link the caffeinated drinks to health risks including heart palpitations and hypertension.

The WHO says a range of measures should be introduced including restricting sales of energy drinks to children, enforcing standards for responsible marketing to young people and limiting how much caffeine can be allowed in a single drink.

Educating the public on the risks of mixing energy drinks with alcohol is also highlighted as a priority.

Children and young people are particularly vulnerable and can have an exaggerated response to caffeine.

Victoria Taylor, our Senior Dietitian, said: “While drinking moderate amounts of caffeine shouldn’t impact your heart health, some people can be more sensitive to its effects.

“Children and young people are particularly vulnerable and can have an exaggerated response to caffeine as they will be less used to it. So avoiding energy drinks is sensible to help to limit their consumption of caffeine.

“This paper highlights just how popular these drinks are to young people due to the marketing methods used to target them.

"Although more research is needed to determine the impact these products can have on young people, it’s another example of why we need tighter controls on junk food marketing tactics to protect children from being tempted into making unhealthy choices.”

Find out more about our Junk Food Marketing campaign.