A study looking at the effect on heart contractility from energy drink consumption was released today via the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). Teenagers and young adults have been warned about the risks of consuming drinks high in caffeine and taurine content related to the increased number of ER visits resulting from rapid rises in blood pressure, seizures and even death. Investigators from the University of Bonn, Germany have been studying the effect of the content of these drinks on 18 volunteers aged around 27 years. MRI reports done 1 hour post consumption of drinks high in caffeine and taurine content revealed significant strain on the heart’s ability to contract from the left ventricle. It is well known that impairment of the heart’s ability to contract appropriately could lead to arrhythmias and even seizures. More studies are needed to determine the long-term impact that energy drinks have on the heart but these short-term findings are nothing short of concerning. Do you counsel your patients to watch their caffeine intake and to avoid unnecessary consumption of energy drinks? Do you think we need tighter regulations on energy drinks?
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The USDA’s new nutrition standards “Smart Snacks in School”, set limits for fat, salt and sugar in food and beverages sold in schools. Foods must contain at least 50% whole grains or have a fruit, vegetable, dairy or protein as the first ingredient or at least ¼ cup of fruit/vegetables. Beverages allowed include low calorie sport drinks, low-fat and fat-free milk, 100% fruit and vegetable juice, and no-calorie flavored waters. This is the first nutritional overhaul of school snacks in more than 30 years and school and food and beverage companies must be in compliance by July 1, 2014. How do you feel about this new public policy? When do you expect to see its outcomes?
For more information, see the article on CNN.