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On November 1st, 2011, Health Canada announced that they will start the long process of regulating energy drinks, such as Red Bull, under the Food and Drug Act. What great news! Having energy drinks regulated as “food” will force these beverages to have a Nutrition Facts table, allowing Canadians to inspect the drink’s sugar, calorie and caffeine content and make more informed purchasing decisions.

Unfortunately, Canadians tend to think of and consume energy drinks not as health products, (where they are currently being regulated) but as soft drinks. Stricter controls on how much caffeine can be added to these beverages and labeling requirements to include warnings for at-risk groups is BADLY needed. Children and youth are susceptible to commercials, especially good ones like Red Bull, but energy drinks have no place in their diet. In addition to the unwanted health effects, other foods and drinks, such as milk, are being displaced.

So, what requirements will be placed on energy drinks under the new food regulation? Well, besides the existing food requirements, Health Canada is developing specific requirements for energy drinks, such as a maximum concentration of caffeine – awesome!

If you are an energy drink fan, you have nothing to worry about because many of the energy drink products currently on the market will be able to meet the proposed limits and requirements. The label might just look a little different.

Just a reminder, Health Canada recommends no more than 400mg/day for healthy adults. The level of caffeine in energy drinks is different in each product, but can range anywhere from 50 mg per can to above 200 mg per can.

Image courtesy of JoePhilipson

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