The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and Dundee)

Cocktail of ingredient­s

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The high caffeine and sugar content of energy drinks can be a danger to the health of young people.

B-vitamins, caffeine, taurine, guarana and ginseng can all be found in the leading brands.

The mind-boggling array of ingredient­s, even in tiny quantities, has the potential to create a powerful cocktail of trouble for young consumers.

CAFFEINE, a stimulant found naturally in coffee and tea, is present in quantities of up to 200mg per large can of energy drinks – almost six times that contained in some tins of fizzy drinks.

It raises heart rate and blood pressure, but the side effects of excessive consumptio­n above recommende­d levels –- especially by groups including pregnant women or children – can include sleeplessn­ess, palpitatio­ns, headaches and nausea.

Rather than keeping pupils alert, some teachers say regular energy drink consumptio­n can see pupils nodding off in the classroom because of problems with their night-time sleep.

AMINO ACID TAURINE helps regulate heartbeat, muscle contractio­ns and energy levels and is naturally produced by the human body – but the version found in energy drinks is manufactur­ed.

GUARANA is from a plant native to South America. It has been used by the Amazonians to increase alertness and energy and can contain double the density of caffeine of the strongest coffee beans.

B VITAMINS are the most widely used energy supplement­s and can be contained in the likes of niacin and riboflavin, both common ingredient­s in the long and baffling list on the back of cans.

Side effects from their consumptio­n can include restlessne­ss, nausea and insomnia. We want secondary schools across Courier Country to commit to banning the consumptio­n of caffeine-laden ‘energy’ drinks during school hours.

We hope parents will also support our bid by doing their bit to curb teenagers’ intake of caffeine drinks.

As an incentive to participat­ing schools, The Courier will provide reusable water bottles to all S1 pupils joining after the summer break.

To sign up to our campaign, local schools need only register by contacting news@thecourier.co.uk.

Please include the name of your school and a brief outline of your reason for signing up.

We will then include your school’s name in our ‘hall of fame’ – and arrange for the delivery of the water bottles.

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