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Caffeine-Containing Energy Drinks: Beginning to Address the Gaps in What We Know

Sorkin, Barbara C., Coates, Paul M.
Advances in nutrition 2014 v.5 no.5 pp. 541-543
adolescents, caffeine, energy drinks, herbs, humans, ingredients, markets, medicine, sugars, surveys, sweeteners, tea, vitamins, United States
Energy drinks are relatively new to the United States but are the fastest growing segment of the beverage market. Humans have a long history of consuming caffeine in traditional beverages, such as cocoa, coffee, tea, and yerba maté, but 2 workshops held at the Institute of Medicine (http://www.iom.edu/Activities/Nutrition/PotentialHazardsCaffeineSupplements/2013-AUG-05.aspx) and the NIH (http://ods.od.nih.gov/News/EnergyDrinksWorkshop2013.aspx) in 2013 highlighted many critical gaps in understanding the biologic and behavioral effects of the mixtures of caffeine, vitamins, herbs, sugar or other sweeteners, and other ingredients that typify caffeine-containing energy drinks (CCEDs). For example, different surveys over the same 2010–2012 timeframe report discrepant prevalence of CCED use by teenagers, ranging from 10.3% in 13–17 y olds to >30% of those in grades 10 and 12. Understanding of functional interactions between CCED ingredients, drivers of use, and biologic and behavioral effects is limited. The 4 speakers in the Experimental Biology 2014 symposium titled “Energy Drinks: Current Knowledge and Critical Research Gaps” described recent progress by their groups in extending our understanding of prevalence of CCED use, sources of caffeine in the United States, drivers of CCED use, and behavioral correlations and effects of CCEDs, including effects on attractiveness of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.