Shari Portnoy, MPH,RD, comments on current articles in the field of Nutrition and Fitness. As a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and exercise enthusiast, she promotes science based principles and regular real exercise. See who agreees with her and who needs real education!!! She provides continuing education to personal trainers too.
Monday, November 5, 2012
Importance of Food Labels--life or death
A serious problem with labeling brought to light by a very sad story
When FoodFacts.com learns of a story like this we feel compelled to bring it in front of our community. We are committed to educating our audience about what is actually in the food products we consume every day and alert everyone we can about possible dangers in our food supply. Sometimes, though, that mission becomes disturbing and sad.
Earlier this month, Wendy Crossland filed suit against Monster Beverage, the company that produces Monster Energy Drinks. Her 14 year old daughter died last year from cardiac arrest after she had consumed two 24 –ounce cans of the drink over a 24-hour period. Her lawsuit states that Monster Energy did not warn about the risks of consuming its drinks. According to the results of her daughter’s autopsy, the teenager passed due to “cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity” that exacerbated an underlying heart problem.
First let’s touch on how much caffeine is in an average-sized cup of coffee. It’s about 100 milligrams. In one 24-ounce can of Monster Energy, there are 240 milligrams. An average grown, healthy adult who has no adverse reactions to caffeine can safely consume between 200 and 300 milligrams per day. The teenage girl who passed away consumed 480 milligrams in a 24-hour period … well over the amount that’s safe for grown human beings. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends that adolescents consume no more than 100 milligrams per day.
While FoodFacts.com understands that the teenager willingly consumed the beverages and the company did not force her to purchase them, we feel that it is important to point out that she had no way of knowing how much caffeine she was consuming. While the FDA does regulate the amount of caffeine in soft drinks and has set the limit in 12 ounces of soda at about 71 milligrams, energy drinks are not held to these same standards. Since energy drink manufacturers choose to classify their products as dietary supplements, they are not required to adhere to the same regulations or to label the actual amount of caffeine their beverages contain.
In addition to that very important piece of information, energy drinks most often contain guarana seeds. This botanical product breaks down to caffeine – in a potent way. Three to five grams of guarana seed breaks down to 250 milligrams of caffeine. This is in ADDITION to the actual caffeine the manufacturers are adding to the drinks.
Last spring, the FDA was asked to investigate the caffeine levels and the safety of other ingredients.