Parents are relieved to see that a highly caffeinated energy drink is no longer allowed to be sold in Ottawa and across Canada.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) recalled Prime energy drink this week, which is backed by YouTube stars Logan Paul and KSI, after Health Canada said the drink “exceeds the acceptable caffeine limit” and “should not be sold in Canada.”
“For me it is concerning,”, Guy Pelletier, a father of two teens, said. “Kids often grab things without knowing what is in them, they are not aware and they just grab it because of TV or a YouTube ad, and it’s the cool thing to do, not realizing what they are pumping into their system which can be very detrimental.”
Health Canada’s regulated caffeine limit is 180 milligrams of caffeine per serving. The Prime energy drink has 200 milligrams.
Pelletier’s 17-year-old son Owen was playing basketball this spring with his friend.
“It came to a point where we were exhausted so we went to the corner store; I saw Prime there, I had never tried it so figured I’d give it a try.”
Prime also sells a non-caffeinated drink called Prime Hydration, but both drinks are similar in labelling and marketing.
Owen Pelletier doesn’t remember if the drink had any caffeine in it but says it did have an effect on him.
“For the next 2.5 hours I felt like I had unlimited energy and couldn’t stop.”
Owen Pelletier says he is worried he accidentally consumed that much caffeine without knowing it. He says energy drinks are popular amongst his peers, even saying some of his teammates have drank three cans in a matter of a few hours.
Doctors say the side effects of this much caffeine can be dangerous. CHEO Dr. Jean-Philippe Chaput says children have been admitted to hospital for caffeine overdoses.
“There are well-known side effects such as insomnia, harder time to fall asleep and stay asleep, they are more nervous, headaches, chest pains, anxiety, can increase irregular heartbeat, and can even lead to death, so definitely very serious,” Chaput said.
“There are some cases of people dying with excess energy drinks or caffeine intakes.”
Chaput wants to see the Health Canada caffeine limit lowered even more, especially amongst young children.
“I would like to see that lowered because it is still quite a bit, and for teenagers it should be roughly 100 mg. So with one can of Prime, they just doubled their daily intake of caffeine.”
Chaput says, “The amount you have in one can is extreme, and I know that some adolescents that they have probably drank two or three in one night, so, of course, they can buy more than one can, but now you are at 600 mg of caffeine. The more you increase the dose, the risk gets higher and higher.”
Chaput believes stronger regulations around marketing are needed around energy drinks so that drinks with that much caffeine don’t end up on shelves in the first place.
Chaput also says parents and families need to address sleep deprivation, which is common in teens so the urge for energy drink decreases.
“More policies surrounding marketing, and to reduce the amount of caffeine (allowed) in those cans because it is just too much. I think the solution is at different levels- education, policies, and to better value sleep. Altogether I think it can have an effect.”