Monster Energy Corporation recently joined the American Beverage Association, which has recommended it sell it’s products as a food, rather than as dietary supplements. While the content of the products will not change, it’s labels will begin to include the amount of caffeine it contains. Energy drinks in general have been under intense examination in recent months. The parents of a 14 year old girl who died after drinking two Monster Energy drinks that had a combined total of 480 milligrams of caffeine have filed a lawsuit against the company. The amount of caffeine in the two cans of Monster Energy the girl drank amounted to about 20 8-ounce cans of soda. If a product is sold as a dietary supplement, the manufacturer is required to notify the FDA of any “adverse affects” connected to it’s product. That requirement is not applicable to products sold as beverages or food. There has not been a conclusion drawn however on whether the product is responsible for a health problem. “When important information is missing from a report, it is difficult for the FDA to fully evaluate whether the product caused the adverse event or simply coincided with it,” said Tamara Ward an FDA spokeswoman. However, this week, 18 public health experts sent the FDA a letter concluding there is not enough evidence to show that high levels of caffeine in energy drinks are safe. “To the contrary, the best scientific evidence demonstrates a robust correlation between the caffeine levels in energy drinks and adverse health and safety consequences, particularly among children, and adolescents,” they wrote.

Last year a Consumer Reports analysis found about 90 milligrams of caffeine in an 8-ounce can of Monster Energy – the drink comes in sizes up to 24 ounces. In comparison, a 16-ounce Starbucks Grande has 330 milligrams of caffeine. Scientists add that caffeine in energy drinks is different than caffeine in coffee – the caffeine in coffee occurs naturally, instead of being added by a manufacturer. The FDA has cautioned consumers to check with their doctors to make sure they don’t have an underlying medical condition that too much caffeine could affect. This information seems important to keep in mind, whether it’s an issue with your migraines, or your overall health……   CNN Health    3/22/13

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