They are everywhere. Cans marketed as energy drinks fill the beverage isles and cold drink containers at local grocery stores and quick stop markets all across the country. They have catchy names like Monster, Red Bull, Burn, Full-Throttle and Rockstar. What kid doesn't want to be a rock star?
The companies that produce these drinks say they are not meant for anyone under 18, and usually somewhere in the fine print you'll see a warning, but that's not stopping kids from consuming them.
According to Forbes.com, energy drinks make up a small portion of the beverage market, but they are the fastest growing segment. What's the reason for the growth spurt? Pre-teens and teens are giving them a try and like what they consume.
They do provide a kick of energy, mainly because they are loaded with caffeine. How much caffeine is in these drinks is under debate because many of the drinks are marketed as supplements. Supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) therefore companies are able to skirt-around the 0.02 percent of caffeine allowed in soda drinks.
Under FDA rules, soda can't contain more than 71 milligrams of caffeine in every 12 ounces. Some energy drinks, on the other hand, can contain as much as 500 milligrams per serving. Many of the drinks are also packed with sugar and sodium.
Along with the popularity of energy drinks with pre-teens and teens comes a sharp increase in cases of caffeine toxicity and overdose for this age group. But could too much caffeine cause a child to die?
The parents of Anais Fournier, a 14-year-old girl in Maryland, believe that's exactly what happened to their daughter. Anais drank two 24-ounce energy drinks while hanging out with her friends last December. She went into cardiac arrest the next day, and died six days later.
The teenager had a common heart condition known as mitral valve prolapse, which causes the heart valv