Villages have decided to take action against shop owners found selling the beverage to minors and emptied bottles of energy drinks into the sewage lines as a mark of protest.

Pune: Nave Pargaon and June Pargaon villages in Kolhapur district passed a resolution during their monthly gram sabha meetings on May 5 to ban the sale of energy drinks. Sangrul and Herle villages from the district and Bahe village in Sangli took a similar decision on May 11. Reason: The high caffeine content in these popular drinks could lead to adverse health and addiction amongst children.

Health experts cite that the health risks posed by consumption of energy drinks on children and teens need to be studied and more awareness raised amongst the public through campaigns and other measures.

Villages have decided to take action against shop owners found selling the beverage to minors and emptied bottles of energy drinks into the sewage lines as a mark of protest. Varsharani Deshmukh, sarpanch, Nave Pargaon, said, “Villagers requested to ban these low-priced drinks as they found that children aged 13-14 years are drinking one or two bottles daily during their free time as schools are closed for summer vacation. Shop keepers are selling these drinks to kids despite the instructions on bottle that it should not be consumed by children and pregnant women. We have told the sale representatives of these drinks to ensure that it is not consumed by minors.”

Senior Food and Drug Administration (FDA) official, on anonymity, said, “The sale of energy drinks is allowed as the products have licences from Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). We collect samples for testing whenever any complaint is received from consumers on substandard or unsafe product.”

Dr Vaishali Pathak, senior consultant, Sahyadri Hospital, said, “Most energy drinks available in the market contain high levels of sugar and caffeine. Some drinks, such as diet sodas or cokes, also contain artificial sweeteners that are harmful to health. These popular drinks, due to their high sugar and caffeine content, can be addictive. Excessive caffeine intake can result in problems like insomnia, restlessness, and anxiety, besides causing tooth decay and staining. Regular consumption of energy drinks increases the risk of conditions such as diabetes and obesity.”

Dr Pathak said that people with high blood pressure and diabetes should avoid energy drinks as the high caffeine content can elevate heart rate and blood pressure.

Dr Shailaja Mane, head of department, paediatrics, DPU Super Speciality Hospital, said, “These drinks contain empty calories. One bottle of energy drink contains approximately 10 spoons of sugar whereas our daily consumption recommendation is 6 to 7 spoons in 24 hours. The caffeine content in an energy drink is approximately 200-300 mg that is equal to 6-8 cups of coffee.”

Salini Somasundar, consultant dietician, Manipal Hospital, said, “Energy drinks are being correlated with the amount of sodium and added sugar. Any packed drink will have preservatives as well as extra sodium in it. Anyone consuming these drinks need to see the label for ingredients and preservatives. For example, hypertensive patients need to watch out for sodium content. It is recommended to consult a doctor or a dietitian because sodium and potassium levels vary in every drink and supplement.”

Dr Shoaib Sangatti, physician, Ruby Hall Clinic, said, “Youngsters consuming these drinks may not have the side effects, but individuals suffering from hypertension and diabetes mellitus could suffer from life-threatening effects. Individuals with pre-existing hypertension can face life-threatening situations with rise in blood pressure, heart rate, and arrhythmias.”