Energy drinks: GCC states to take bull by the horns

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The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member-states including Qatar have just completed a GCC standard to control energy beverages in the market.

"The aim of the standard is to put regulations and criteria to the widespread energy drinks among young people and children," said Dr Mohamed Saif Al Kuwari, Director General of the Qatar General Organisation for Standards and Metrology (QGOSM). Al kuwari said the amount of caffeine in these beverages could cause sleep disruptions for children as well as agitation in the

intestine.

He added that the regulations of this standard will prohibit children who are under 16 year-old, pregnant women, athletes, and people allergic to caffeine from having these energy drinks.

Talking to a local Arabic daily, Al Kuwari said: "Now, we are studying an Australian research published last month which claimed that energy beverages can cause heart disease and blood clots in the brain.

"The international organisations and the GCC research centres should also study this research," Al Kuwari said.

"Just one can of a popular stimulant energy drink can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke, even in young people," said a news agency quoting the Australian medical researchers.

"The caffeine-loaded beverage, popular with university students and adrenaline sport fans to give them "wings", caused the blood to become sticky, a pre-cursor to cardiovascular problems such as stroke."

"One hour after they drank the popular brand, their blood systems were no longer normal. They were abnormal like we would expect in a patient with cardiovascular disease," Scott Willoughby, lead researcher from the Cardiovascular Research Centre at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, told the Australian newspaper.

The energy drink is banned in Norway, Uruguay and Denmark because of health risks listed on its cans. One of the leading brands of energy drinks last year sold 3.5bn cans in 143 countries.

The Pen