Energy drinks are the same as legal highs, say health experts

They’re our best friends when it comes to getting up for a 9am or the last hour of an all nighter — but now experts claim energy drinks are as […]

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They’re our best friends when it comes to getting up for a 9am or the last hour of an all nighter — but now experts claim energy drinks are as bad as legal highs.

Drug researchers say they are “concerned” by energy drink consumption because of the amount of caffeine found in cans of Red Bull, Relentless and Monster.

New research says “excessive” amounts of these powerful drinks cause “hyperactivity” and an “inevitable crash” later on.

A small can contains 160mg of caffeine

Regular drinkers of caffeine develop anxiety and insomnia and young people are at a higher risk of obesity due to the sugar content of our favourite pick me-ups, according to a charity study carried out for a teaching union.

Swanswell drug and alcohol charity chief exec Debbie Bannigan said: “We’re concerned about excessive energy drink consumption, not least because we’re finding links to use of other substances, including alcohol, cannabis and mephedrone.”

A spokesperson added: “They are sold legally and people can get high on the amount of caffeine in them.

“We’d question whether people appreciate how much caffeine is contained in these drinks and the problems this amount of caffeine can cause.”

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For adults the recommended daily limit of caffeine is 400mg — a 500ml can of Relentless or Monster contains 159mg of the chemical.

The research was carried out for an anxious teachers’ union fretting over the young people who chug energy drinks.

NASUWT union boss Chris Keates said: “Many young people and their parents are not aware of the very high levels of stimulants that these drinks contain.

“They are readily available legal highs. Parents and young people need to be made aware of what these drinks contain and their potential impact on behaviour.”