Category Archives: death

New research recognizes the danger energy drinks may pose to public health

energy_drink1FoodFacts.com knows there are so many things for parents to worry about when it comes to their teenagers. While we’re not happy to have added to their list of concerns, we’ve been consistently reporting on research and news surrounding energy drinks. These drinks have been linked to thousands of emergency room visits and fatalities among adults and young people alike. Unfortunately, energy drinks appear to be most appealing to teenagers and they’re consuming them in unhealthy quantities all over the world. Today we’ve learned that these dangers are being recognized.

Increased consumption of energy drinks may pose danger to public health, especially among young people, warns a team of researchers from the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe in the open-access journal Frontiers in Public Health.

Energy drinks are non-alcoholic beverages that contain caffeine, vitamins, and other ingredients for example, taurine, ginseng, and guarana. They are typically marketed as boosting energy and increasing physical and mental performance.

João Breda, from the WHO Regional Office for Europe, and colleagues reviewed the literature on the health risks, consequences and policies related to energy drink consumption.

“From a review of the literature, it would appear that concerns in the scientific community and among the public regarding the potential adverse health effects of the increased consumption of energy drinks are broadly valid,” write the authors.

Part of the risks of energy drinks are due to their high levels of caffeine. Energy drinks can be drunk quickly, unlike hot coffee, and as a result they are more likely to cause caffeine intoxication.

Studies included in the review suggest that caffeine intoxication can lead to heart palpitations, hypertension, nausea and vomiting, convulsions, psychosis, and in rare cases, death. In the USA, Sweden, and Australia, several cases have been reported where people have died of heart failure or were hospitalized with seizures, from excess consumption of energy drinks.

Research has shown that adolescents who often take energy drinks are also more likely to engage in risky behaviours such as sensation seeking, substance abuse, and binge drinking.

Over 70% of young adults (aged 18 to 29 years) who drink energy drinks mix them with alcohol, according to an EFSA study. Numerous studies have shown that this practice is more risky than drinking alcohol only, possibly because these drinks make it harder for people to notice when they are getting drunk.

According to the National Poison Data System in the United States, between 2010 and 2011, 4854 calls to poison information centers were made about energy drinks. Almost 40% involved alcohol mixed with energy drinks. A similar study in Australia demonstrated a growth in the number of calls about energy drinks.

Energy drinks can be sold in all EU countries, but some countries have introduced regulations, including setting rules for sales to children. Hungary introduced a public health tax that includes energy drinks in 2012. In Sweden, sales of some types of energy drinks are restricted to pharmacies and sales to children are banned.

“As energy drink sales are rarely regulated by age, unlike alcohol and tobacco, and there is a proven potential negative effect on children, there is the potential for a significant public health problem in the future,” the authors conclude.

They make the following suggestions to minimize the potential for harm from energy drinks:

- Establishing an upper limit for the amount of caffeine allowed in a single serving of any drink in line with available scientific evidence;
- Regulations to enforce restriction of labeling and sales of energy drinks to children and adolescents;
- Enforcing standards for responsible marketing to young people by the energy drink industry;
- Training health care practitioners to be aware of the risks and symptoms of energy drinks consumption;
- Patients with a history of diet problems and substance abuse, both alone and combined with alcohol, should be screened for the heavy consumption of energy drinks;
- Educating the public about the risks of mixing alcohol with energy drinks consumption;
- Further research on the potential adverse effects of energy drinks, particularly on young people.

We’re grateful for many of the statements released from this report. First among them would have to be the acknowledgement that health concerns surrounding energy drinks are valid. Unfortunately, here in the U.S., there’s been little — if any — movement by the FDA to restrict and reclassify energy drinks from nutritional supplements to beverages, or to regulate their sale among young people. Every instance of a link between death and energy drinks is accompanied by a disclaimer that no cause and effect had been found. And the consistent marketing of energy drinks by manufacturers in manners that are attractive to teens has not changed. Even the packaging designs employed are obviously targeting a younger population. FoodFacts.com hopes that this European report sends a loud message across the globe and is thoroughly digested here in the states. These are significant acknowledgements that need to be taken seriously.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141014170727.htm

Sugar-sweetened beverages directly linked to deaths all over the world

FoodFacts.com has been keeping up to date on the subject of sugary beverages. The New York City ban on sugary drinks has been in the news consistently and has been responsible for shining a brighter spotlight on the subject. Today we found important new information that we wanted to make sure and share with our community.

New research has revealed that drinking sugary soft drinks is responsible for close to 180,000 deaths worldwide every year. The finding comes from research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions.

We are already aware that sugary beverages are associated with increased body weight and obesity. These conditions can lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Using data published in the 2010 Global Burden of Diabetes Study, researchers found an association between the consumption of sugary drinks and 180,000 deaths around the world. 133,000 of those deaths were related to diabetes, 44,000 to cardiovascular disease and 6,000 to cancer. In the United States, data showed that about 25,000 deaths were linked to sugary beverages in 2010.

Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean had the highest number of diabetes deaths due to consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks with 38,000. Mexico had the highest rate of death due to sugary drink consumption at about 318 deaths per million.

Japan, the country that consumes the least amount of sugary drinks in the world only had 10 deaths per million linked to sugary beverage consumption.

Over the past 30 years, global consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has risen tremendously. The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and obesity has stated that sugary drinks are the number one source of calories for American Adolescents.

This study is quite a bit different than those we normally read regarding the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. And seeing a direct link between sugary drink intake and death certainly puts things in better perspective. FoodFacts.com hopes that this information receives the attention it deserves and serves as a catalyst for consumers to reconsider their beverage choices for the sake of their health and longevity.

Read more here: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/257958.php

Anti-freeze contaminated vinegar causes 11 deaths in China

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Foodfacts.com wants to provide our followers with the latest news surrounding foods and nutrition. Recently, 120 illnesses and 11 deaths were reported in China due to anti-freeze contaminated vinegar. Food safety is a prime concern for the world’s food supply and urges our readers to read the article below.

BEIJING — Vinegar tainted with antifreeze is suspected of killing 11 people and sickening 120 after a communal Ramadan meal in China’s far western region of Xinjiang.

Investigators suspect the victims consumed vinegar that was put in two plastic barrels that had previously been used to store toxic antifreeze, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Monday.

It said the mass food poisoning occurred Saturday night in a village close to Hotan city in Xinjiang, a border region that abuts Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia. The victims were Muslims who were sharing an evening meal after the daily fast observed during the holy month of Ramadan.

Xinhua said children as young as 6 were among the dead. One person among the 120 sickened was still in critical condition.

Authorities were still testing to confirm the source of the poisoning, it said.

China’s food safety record has been battered by the rampant use of illegal or substandard additives by unscrupulous food producers. Milk powder laced with the industrial chemical melamine killed at least six children and sickened 300,000 in 2008. Producers added the nitrogen-rich melamine powder so their milk would seem higher in protein.

Revenge attacks using rat poison or other chemicals are also common in China, where access to firearms and other deadly weapons is tightly controlled.

In April, three children died and 35 others were sickened by milk tainted with nitrite. An investigation showed that a local dairy farmer had put the poison into their competitor’s milk supply.

But accidental contamination is also a problem, caused by low hygiene standards, particularly in rural areas, and weak quality control by regulators.

(Huffington Post)