March 6, 2014 – In response to “An emerging adolescent health risk: Caffeinated energy drink consumption patterns among high school students” the Canadian Beverage Association issued the following statement:
The authors of this research themselves admit that their work only shows an association, but “causality in the relationships seen here cannot be inferred.” Importantly, association is not the same as causation. Just because two things occur at a similar frequency does not show that one causes an effect on the other.
The use levels reported by the researchers reinforce the fact that the vast majority of teens, over 80 per cent, rarely or never consume energy drinks. Only 12 per cent of those students surveyed reported consuming energy drinks more than once a month. Further, there is no evidence ? here or anywhere else – to indicate that the consumption of energy drinks in any way led to substance abuse or to the sort of behaviour associated with substance abuse.
Health Canada’s own assessment stated that when it comes to adolescents “one or two servings of a typical energy drink (80 mg of caffeine/serving) would be unlikely to pose an acute health hazard” based on the caffeine content.
The authors also note that they did not consider the impact of other caffeinated beverages (such as coffee etc.) on the behaviours measured. Unlike coffee beverages, energy drinks are regulated in Canada, and have a capped caffeine content. Energy drinks are the only caffeinated beverages in Canada which label total caffeine content from all sources. Contrary to the misperception perpetuated by this paper, most mainstream energy drinks contain only about half the amount of caffeine of a similar size cup of coffeehouse coffee. Furthermore, all recent research indicates that coffee remains the largest dietary source of caffeine in Canada, amongst all age groups.
The Canadian Beverage Association and its members have undertaken a number of concrete and meaningful actions to responsibly market their products and help promote healthy active lifestyles, and implemented Industry Guidelines for the Sale of Beverages in Schools. Energy drinks are not, nor have they ever been sold by our members in schools.
 Mitchell et all, Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology