Separating fact from fiction on energy drinks can be a challenge
Canadians deserve the facts
TORONTO, Oct. 30, 2012 /CNW/ – Canadian consumers need the true facts about energy drinks and the Canadian Beverage Association wants to set the record straight.
“There is a lot of confusion and misinformation about energy drinks,” says Jim Goetz, President, Canadian Beverage Association. “Our goal is to help educate Canadians on the role energy drinks play and how to consume them appropriately. We believe that Canadian consumers deserve a science-based approach to ingredient, labelling and regulation.”
Caffeine in Canada
When looking at caffeine it is important for Canadians to recognize all sources of caffeine, the levels of caffeine in these products and the suggested daily consumption levels as set out by Health Canada. Health Canada states that 90 per cent of our caffeine comes from coffee and tea, leaving 10 per cent from other sources1.
If you look at a typical 8 oz/ 237 mL serving, Canadians get2:
- 30 mg of caffeine from a cola
- 80 mg of caffeine from an average small can energy drink (180 mg of caffeine in a large 473 mL can)
- 96 mg of caffeine from an extra small Tim Horton’s Iced Cap
- 175 mg of caffeine from a short Starbucks coffee
Consumption among Teens
Energy drink consumption remains very low among teens. The Réseau du sport étudiant du Quebec surveyed3 the energy drink consumption habits of over 10 000 Quebec teens 12 – 17 year of age and found that 93 per cent of teens rarely or never consumed energy drinks while only 1 per cent consumed them daily. Research by the Institut de la Statistique du Québec4 showed very similar consumption habits among more than 60,000 teens 13 to 17 years of age with 82.8 per cent of teens rarely or never consuming energy drinks while only 1.5 per cent consumed them daily.
According to Statistics Canada beverage consumption patterns are similar across the country5. The research re-affirms that for teens, like adults, caffeine comes from a variety of sources and focusing on any one single product category greatly oversimplifies complex issues.
Understanding Energy Drinks In Canada
Under Health Canada’s guidance, energy drinks are currently transitioning from Natural Health Products to Foods, where they will be marketed with similar restrictions as other food products. This decision will closer align Canada with how energy drinks are sold in over 160 other countries around the world.
1 Health Canada, Caffeine – It’s Your Health http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/food-aliment/caffeine-eng.php
2 Compiled using information from the following databases: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/securit/addit/caf/food-caf-aliments-eng.php Tim Horton’s http://www.timhortons.com/ca/pdf/nutrition-guide-can.pdf Starbuck Nutrition by the Cup brochure
3 Réseau du sport étudiant du Quebec. (2011) ENQUÊTE QUÉBÉCOISE SUR LE MARKETING DE LA MALBOUFFE : 10 000 JEUNES SE PRONONCENT ! http://ll.rseq.ca/download/attachments/15958040/Rapport+d’enquete-FRA-1-page.pdf?version=1&modificationDate=1328122709903
4 L’Enquête québécoise sur la santé des jeunes du secondaire 2010-2011 – Tome 1 Tableau A3.2
5 Beverage consumption of children and teens by Didier Garriguet http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2008004/article/10715/6500232-eng.htm
“With the transition of energy drinks from NHP to food Health Canada is taking a science-based approach and we think that is will be a good thing for consumers,” continued Jim Goetz. “The amount of caffeine in an energy drink is lower that the caffeine found in an equivalent sized coffee house coffee.”
As part of the transition, Health Canada has capped the amount of caffeine allowed at 400 mg per litre. This means that a small single serve energy drink (250 ml or less) will have approximately 80 – 100 mg of caffeine and larger single serve can (473 mL) will be capped at 180 mg caffeine. The majority of energy drinks sold in Canada today already fall within these guidelines.
In addition, unlike coffee and tea, all energy drinks sold in Canada will continue to have the total amount of caffeine from all sources declared on the label so consumers can be aware of their caffeine content.
Energy Drink Labeling
Information currently found on energy drinks labels include that energy drinks are intended for adults; are not recommended for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, or people who are sensitive to caffeine and should also not be mixed with alcohol.
“Given the Government of Nova Scotia’s interests, we reiterate our offer to partner with the Department of Health and Wellness to do a proper analysis of energy drinks in Nova Scotia,” continued Jim Goetz. “We believe such a study would give the government a scientifically-sound basis on which to decide whether energy drinks are a legitimate concern or whether anecdotal “evidence” has created misconceptions about their use.”
The Canadian Beverage Associations is the national trade association representing the broad spectrum of brands and companies that manufacture and distribute the majority of non-alcoholic liquid refreshment beverages consumed in Canada.
SOURCE: Canadian Beverage Association