Advisory Committee to 2015 Federal Dietary Guidelines Makes Key Finding That Energy Drinks and Alcohol Should Not Be Consumed Together.
On January 7, 2016 the United States Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) issued new dietary guidelines. Federal Law requires that these guidelines be issued every 5 years by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture. The Guidelines are supposed to be based on the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) and the best scientific information available. This blue-ribbon Advisory Committee explicitly found that High-Caffeine energy drinks and alcoholic beverages should not be consumed together either mixed together or consumed at the same sitting. This is especially true for children and adolescents. Curiously, this conclusion and other key findings suggesting that energy drinks may be dangerous were omitted and/or watered down in the Final Dietary Guidelines published on January 7, 2016. I Believe That This Is Most Likely The Result Of Very Good Lobbying By The Energy Drink Industry!
If the Advisory Committees Key Findings including the Key Finding that energy drinks and alcohol should not be consumed together was included in the final Dietary Guidelines, it would have been very bad news for the energy drink industry. This is because a high volume of energy drink sales occur in bars and nightclubs that serve alcoholic drinks such as Red Bull and Vodka and other combinations of caffeinated beverages and booze.
The Advisory Committee also made another Key Finding— that it agreed with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association that until safety has been demonstrated, limited or no consumption of high caffeine drinks is advised for vulnerable populations including children and adolescents. Shamefully, this key finding was also watered down and/or omitted from the final dietary guidelines.
My personal opinion, which is based on having represented many individuals who suffered heart attacks and other injuries after consuming energy drinks (even without alcohol), is that sales of energy drinks should be banned to those under age 18 and the Energy Drink industry should step up to the plate, do the responsible thing, and put a proper warning on its product advising adult purchasers that it can cause heart attacks. Such a warning is especially important for those individuals who have underlying heart conditions, and those individuals who take other prescription medications with stimulants (e.g. Asthma Inhalers, ADHD drugs such as Adderall, etc.). In Maryland, during the 2013 Legislative Session, we tried to pass a law to ban the sale of energy drinks to minors. Although we presented a tremendous amount of medical evidence to show that energy drinks were dangerous, the American Beverage Association and their lobbyists successfully defeated this legislation.
You can bet your bottom dollar that the energy drink industry and its Lobbyists will attack this Advisory Committee Report as flawed, and they will continue to market and sell energy drinks to vulnerable populations including those with underlying heart conditions and teenagers. Our personal injury law firm will continue to file lawsuits against energy drink companies, fight to hold this industry accountable, and work with Legislators to have the sale of energy drinks banned to minors and to have a proper warning label placed on this product.