The committee distinguished sports from energy drinks:
Sports drinks: beverages that may contain carbohydrates, minerals, electrolytes, and flavoring and are intended to replenish water and electrolytes lost through sweating during exercise.
Energy drinks: also contain substances that act as nonnutritive stimulants, such as caffeine, guarana, taurine, ginseng, l-carnitine, creatine, and/or glucuronolactone, with purported ergogenic or performance-enhancing effects.
The operative word is “purported.” The committee’s tough conclusion:
The use of sports drinks in place of water on the sports field or in the school lunchroom is generally unnecessary.
Stimulant-containing energy drinks have no place in the diets of children or adolescents.
For the record, PepsiCo spent $113 million to market Gatorade in 2010 (says Advertising Age).
The committee was concerned about the effects of high-dose caffeine on kids. Although its report did not distinguish energy drinks from energy shots, its conclusion undoubtedly applies to those too. Energy shots are more concentrated versions of energy drinks.
This is a big issue because pediatricians are concerned about the marketing of all of these caffeine-laden drinks to kids. Marketers, the Nutrition Committee says, are pushing energy drinks to kids as low-calorie “healthier” alternatives.
BeverageDaily.com asked Red Bull, the leading energy shot seller, about its marketing practices. The company denies marketing its shots to kids.
We do not market our product to children and other caffeine sensitive people…The authors of this report seem to be unaware that the American Beverage Association (ABA) and also the European Beverage Association (UNESDA) have already agreed codes of practice for the marketing and labelling of energy drinks.
Maybe, but energy shots are the new hot product, so hot that FoodNavigator-USA.com has just devoted a special report to them. Sales are booming. The only concern? Can they continue? Or, will they be replaced by the even hotter new thing: energy strips?
These products are about making a fortune selling potentially harmful beverages under the guide of “healthy” to anyone wanting a quick caffeine fix.
They are about marketing, not health.