TV chef Jamie Oliver has spent months campaigning for the government to ban the sale of energy drinks to under 16s.

Let’s find out why they are so bad for you and how they could be affecting you child’s education.

Whether you are a tired driver or a sweet-toothed teen there is an energy drink for you, but do you know what they do to your body?

Essentially, energy drinks contain high levels of caffeine and are marketed to enhancing our physical and mental performance. Sounds like a good supplement right??


The problem is that caffeine stimulates the brain and body by borrowing  energy from our reserves. When this runs out we crash and become tired, so what do we do then? We have more caffeine to lift our energy levels up again. This may lead to a vicious cycle and is why Jamie Oliver has branded these drinks ‘addictive’.

The NHS recommends that an adult has no more than 400mg of caffeine per day (for young people it is much less), but just one energy drink can contain as much as 500mg! Energy drinks are also targeted at young people, using bright colours, funky flavours and cool logos. The cans do not legally have to show the amount of caffeine in each drink BUT what the cans do all say is the the drinks are not recommended for under 16s!

In addition to caffeine, these drinks also contain copious amounts of sugar – averaging 15 teaspoons per 500ml can. In short term, and in moderation, sugar can be a useful burst of energy. On the other hand, too much sugar can lead to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, Type II diabetes and tooth decay.

All this shows that energy drinks with their high sugar and caffeine content are the opposite of the positive, healthy beverages we may perceive them to be.

Jamie Oliver is now calling on health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to ban the sale of energy drinks to those who are under 16 years of age and has teamed up with the National Education Union to show the negative effect on education standards. Teachers have declared that children “under the influence” are impossible to teach, while the crash makes them look like they haven’t slept for a week. This is hugely obstructive to learning.

If it is energy you need, cutting out caffeine may be a good start so you can then depend on your own natural sources of energy. A balanced diet, a good, quality routine of sleep, and regular exercise can all boost energy levels efficiently and naturally. One of the first signs of dehydration is tiredness but instead of opting for a quick fix energy drink, water is more beneficial in the long run, hydrating the mind and body, feeling less fatigued and contributing to a healthy lifestyle.

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