As students in Adelaide gear up for end-of-year exams, a concerning discovery has been made. Energy drinks with nearly double the regulated caffeine content have been found on store shelves, prompting warnings to students and parents about the potential risks.
SA Health officials identified the G Fuel Tetris Blast as the most caffeinated drink, containing a staggering 300 milligrams of caffeine in a 473ml can. This is almost twice the national food standard limit of 320 milligrams per litre.
To put it in perspective, it’s akin to drinking nine cans of Coca-Cola or having three shots of espresso.
Two other drinks, C4 Performance Energy and Ghost Energy Drink, were also found to exceed the regulations, each containing 200mg of caffeine in their 473ml cans.
Efforts are underway by SA Health to inform local retailers about these findings. Notices have been issued to businesses retailing these non-compliant drinks, and health departments in other states have been alerted.
While there isn’t a universally accepted safe caffeine consumption level, it’s advised that teenagers moderate their intake to avoid potential health issues. The recommended maximum daily caffeine intake for teenagers is three milligrams per kilogram of body weight. Given the risks, consumers are urged to read labels carefully before purchasing.
Excessive caffeine consumption can lead to a range of health problems, including insomnia, anxiety, depression, heart issues, ulcers, and even seizures. In rare instances, it can be fatal.
For the average adult, a daily intake of 400mg of caffeine, with no more than 200mg at one time, is deemed safe. However, those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should limit their daily intake to 200mg.
Minister for Health and Wellbeing Chris Picton says the Government is taking action to stop the supply of these energy drinks which have been sourced from overseas and do not comply with Australian standards.
“They are clearly marketed at teenagers, but the amount of caffeine in them can cause serious damage to our kids.”
“I encourage businesses to be vigilant and to check to see if the energy drinks they are selling are compliant to national food standards.”
“The overconsumption of caffeine at a young age could be harmful to both physical and mental health. It’s important to make the right choices, so students have the best chance of acing their exams.”
Minister for Education, Training and Skills Blair Boyer says “stimulants such as the caffeine found in energy drinks can damage students’ health, as well as their chances of peak exam performance.”
“I know exams can be a stressful time, but it’s important for students to look after themselves by eating well, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, and exercising.”
“Our schools do a wonderful job of supporting students and helping them get the best out of Year 12, which includes expert advice on managing stress, and even having dedicated study lessons.”
“Exams are a vital part of Year 12, with study and preparation a big part of ensuring students are giving themselves the best chance for success – which is why it’s so important that students engage in healthy study habits.”
Chris Lease, Executive Director, Health Protection and Regulation at SA Health said “I encourage all energy drink stockists to check their shelves, as some energy drinks from overseas look very similar to energy drinks that meet the Australian standards, but can have levels of caffeine above what they are allowed to sell in Australia”.
“Where non-compliant products are found for sale, appropriate action will be taken. We are also in contact with our interstate counterparts to follow up with suppliers and national retail chains to make sure any products they offer for sale comply.”
“For students, building healthy mental wellbeing activities into your everyday means that you can be better prepared to deal with the stresses and strains that end of year exams and assignments bring, without the need to rely on energy drinks to keep you alert.”
Nicole Keller, Executive Director, Mental Health and Wellbeing at Wellbeing SA said “Building healthy mental wellbeing activities into your everyday means that you can be better prepared to deal with the stresses and strains that end of year exams and assignments bring, without the need to rely on energy drinks to keep you alert.”
“If you notice you are becoming distracted, give yourself a break. Recognise the signs that it is time to rest and let your brain absorb what you have been learning.”