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Caffeine labeling urged for drinks

October 05, 2008|From Times Wires Services

Energy beverages can have 10 times the caffeine of soft drinks, or even more, prompting scientists at Johns Hopkins University to recommend that product labels list the content and warn about health risks.

Energy drinks are sold as dietary supplements, and the Food and Drug Administration doesn't limit their caffeine content or require warnings. A typical 12-ounce soft drink contains about 35 milligrams of caffeine, while some energy drinks have as much as 500 milligrams, said the researchers in the journal Drugs and Alcohol Dependence. Consumers may be unaware of caffeine risks, the report said.

Caffeine intoxication can lead to nervousness, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, gastrointestinal upset, tremors and rapid heartbeat, said study author Roland Griffiths, a professor of behavioral biology at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. He recommended regulation.

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