Energy drinks are intended for healthy adults who need a quick boost of energy and alertness, or want to provide their bodies with some vitamins. The safe consumption levels have been determined by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). According to their scientific research, a healthy adult can safely consume up to five cans of energy drink per day, as stated by the Secretary-General of the Hungarian Energy Drinks Association Sándor Csibi to Világgazdaság.
‘It is important to note that all food and even water should be consumed in moderation,’ Csibi said, emphasizing that the association believes in protecting children from all health hazards, but in this case, they advocate for education and awareness instead of a ban.
He believes that
it is crucial to explain to a broader audience the purpose of energy drinks, whom they are recommended for, who should avoid them, and what the safe consumption limits are.
The debate began when Hungarian Members of Parliament Lőrinc Nacsa and István Hollik proposed a legal ban on the purchase of energy drinks for those under the age of 18.
The representatives said, ‘Both of us are fathers of three, so child protection is not just a political duty but also a parental responsibility.’ Hollik added that they clearly see the dangers that children face, one of which is the frequent consumption of energy drinks. Hollik mentioned that
over the past four years, the ambulance service has treated an average of 100 cases per year of children under 18 overconsuming energy drinks.
He believes this makes it clear that the consumption of these products poses a health risk for this age group.
Nacsa pointed out that a 14-year-old boy died of a heart attack at school in Hatvan a year ago. The boy was drinking energy drinks before the incident. Teachers report that it is common for ‘children to fall asleep in class around 10–11 am,’ as that is when the effects of energy drinks consumed before the start of school wear off.
‘It is clear that we need to take action on this issue,’ Nacsa said, advocating for classifying energy drinks similarly to alcoholic beverages. The Secretary-General of the Hungarian Energy Drinks Association indicated that not only energy drinks, but also anything containing caffeine, such as coffee and cola, is not ‘just’ not recommended for children to consume. He stated: a litre (0.26 gallons) of cola contains as much sugar and caffeine as a litre of energy drink.
Therefore, if the aim of the proposed law is to protect children, then cola should also be banned for those under 18, as the caffeine levels are the same in all these products. He emphasized that ensuring the right amount of sleep and rest for children is the recommended solution for providing energy, and this is a parental responsibility because children often use their mobile phones instead of sleeping even late at night.
Source: Hungarian Conservative/Világgazdaság