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Caffeine energy shots get eight-year-old hearts racing

The AMA has called for restrictions on energy drinks.
The AMA has called for restrictions on energy drinks. Cade Mooney

WHEN an eight-year-old downs an "energy shot", its effects may be felt instantly.

Their heart rate increases and their bowels accelerate, which can deliver a sudden bout of diahorrea.

It is just one reason the Australian Medical Association wants energy drinks restricted to adults.

However, the soft drink industry has hit back warning coffee is the greater danger.

Caffeine was jolted back on to the national agenda after the Department of Health released a paper considering changes to guidelines this week.

Sales of energy drinks increased from 34.5 million litres in 2001 to more than 155 million by 2010.

This has included the creation of new "energy shots" including the "V Pocket Rocket" with more than 20 times the caffeine of Coca Cola, about 200mg per 100ml.

Only an espresso coffee comes close with 194mg/100ml.

The soft and energy drink industry sees the worry as a storm in a tin can, with its own research suggesting those aged 15-49 consume 50% of their caffeine through cups of coffee.

Australian Beverages chief executive Geoff Parker blamed Australia's booming cafe culture for people drinking more caffeine but would now review the paper.

AMA president Dr Steve Hambleton said while the strongest coffee could match energy drinks for caffeine content, it was not comparing apples and apples

"Coffee is hot and meant to be drunk slowly," he said.

"People don't usually line up five or six cups (of coffee) in a row mixed with alcohol.

"And (the industry) might say we have the strongest regulations in the world but when an eight-year-old can walk into a supermarket and buy an energy drink no questions asked, maybe they are not enough.

Submissions on the guidelines will close on October 10, 2013.

SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM

How much buzz is in your beverage, by caffeine content (mg/100ml)

V Pocket Rocket - 200

Espresso coffee from beans - 194

Monster energy shot - 158

Red Bull energy shot - 133

Cafe cappucino, double shot - 101.9

Red Bull/Monster/Mother - 32

Black tea - 22.5

Mountain Dew - 15.2

Coca Cola - 9

Topics:  australian medical association caffeine editors picks energy drinks



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