Energy drinks raise new questions about caffeine's safety

June 24, 2014, Institute of Food Technologists

Caffeine, which was extensively researched for possible links to birth defects in animals and cardiovascular disease in humans over 30 years ago and then exonerated, has become the focus of renewed concerns as caffeine-containing energy drinks have surged in popularity. However, according to a June 23rd panel discussion at the 2014 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo in New Orleans, a rich database of health evidence exists confirming the safety of caffeine for consumers at current levels of exposure. What isn't known, however, is how caffeine might interact with the myriad of other ingredients found in many energy drinks.

In 2013, the U.S. Congress pressed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to look harder at the safety of caffeine. The FDA responded by sponsoring an Institute of Medicine scientific workshop in August 2013. Two areas of focus that came out of the workshop were the need to identify vulnerable populations that may be at risk from increased caffeine exposure and to pinpoint research gaps that need to be filled.

"I thought we had put these safety issues to bed in the 80s," said James Coughlin, Ph.D. of Coughlin & Associates, a consulting firm based in Aliso Viejo, California. "But today concerns are being raised because no one has gone back to look at this literature. There has been a lot of bad science related to caffeine that is fueling concerns."

The FDA has begun an internal evaluation of caffeine's safety and is expected to issue guidelines.

James C Griffiths, Ph.D, Vice President of Science & International Affairs at the Council of Responsible Nutrition, in Washington, D.C. and a member of the panel, said, "CRN believes that no new regulations are necessary concerning caffeine-containing products, since there is overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrating its safety. We're all waiting to see what the FDA is going to do."

Explore further: Should there be mandatory labeling of all food and drinks containing added caffeine?

Related Stories

Should there be mandatory labeling of all food and drinks containing added caffeine?

September 19, 2013
Caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive substance and is part of the daily diet of most people, whether they know it or not. Caffeine is being added to more products, including energy drinks and snack foods, with no ...

Caffeine common in US kids, youths; mainly soda

February 10, 2014
Nearly 3 out of 4 U.S. children and young adults consume at least some caffeine, mostly from soda, tea and coffee. The rate didn't budge much over a decade, although soda use declined and energy drinks became an increasingly ...

Caffeine in kids' foods 'dangerous', US regulator says

May 3, 2013
The US food and drug regulator on Friday called the addition of caffeine to children's foods like chewing gum and jelly beans "dangerous" and warned of a possible crackdown.

More research urgently needed on caffeine

September 9, 2013
Studies have shown that caffeine users can become dependent on or addicted to caffeine and may have difficulty reducing their consumption, as can occur with other drugs of dependence. A comprehensive review of the current ...

Caffeine-based gold compounds are potential tools in the fight against cancer

February 26, 2014
The side effects of ingesting too much caffeine—restlessness, increased heart rate, having trouble sleeping—are well known, but recent research has shown that the stimulant also has a good side. It can kill cancer cells. ...

Recommended for you

Placental accumulation of flame retardant chemical alters serotonin production in rats

January 22, 2018
A North Carolina State University-led research team has shown a connection between exposure to a widely used flame retardant chemical mixture and disruption of normal placental function in rats, leading to altered production ...

Marijuana use does not lower chances of getting pregnant

January 22, 2018
Marijuana use—by either men or women—does not appear to lower a couple's chances of getting pregnant, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.