Stimulant Drinks and Products

The AAFP recognizes the increased consumption of stimulant drinks (often referred to as “energy drinks”) and related products (e.g. snacks, shots, chews, candies), especially by young people, despite growing evidence of their harmful effects. These products typically contain one or more of the following ingredients: caffeine, methylxanthines, B vitamins, guarana, yerba mate, bitter orange, ginger, ginkgo, St. John’s Wort, ginseng and taurine. Manufacturers advertise that these stimulant drinks and products improve neurological and/or psychophysiological performance and efficiency, though evidence supporting these claims is lacking. A common marketing practice of manufacturers is the provision of free or discounted samples of these products to minors.

The Food and Drug Administration has not yet defined energy or stimulant drinks and their related products. The food and beverage industry may use these labels and make these claims at will, without external monitoring or regulation. Stimulant ingredients in energy drinks and products may cause significant adverse health effects in vulnerable populations, particularly those with cardiac disease, asthma and other conditions requiring the use of certain prescription medications. The stimulant ingredients can be especially dangerous when combined with other recreational substances.

The AAFP supports the formal definition and classification of stimulant drinks and products by the Food and Drug Administration, including standardization of labeling information and ongoing monitoring of ingredients and regulation of these products. The AAFP opposes the sale and marketing of stimulant drinks and related products to individuals under the age of 18 in the United States of America. (2014 COD)