‘American Morning:’ Energy Drinks ‘Safe’ and a ‘Danger’

Energy drinks might be dangerous to “people out there who have preexisting heart problems,” according to CNN’s “American Morning.” But they are also apparently safe for “healthy” people.

Kiran Chetry introduced the segment about a 15 person study of energy drinks saying, “Well, we have another warning about those popular energy drinks – the affects that it could have on your heart.”

But remarks from CNN were contradictory.

Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said, “for the most part, let me be clear, it appears to be safe.” Meanwhile, the bottom of the screen blared: “ENERGY DRINK ALERT, BLOOD PRESSURE DANGER.”

According to the study, the American Heart Association concluded energy drinks “may pose risks” for people with high blood pressure and heart disease.

“This was a report from a meeting presentation – not a finished paper published in a scientific journal, and it is very small, and involves healthy young volunteers,” Dr. Ruth Kava, Director of Nutrition, for the American Council on Science & Health (ACSH), said to the Business & Media Institute. “But it would be unethical to do such a study in people with heart problems, since the hypothesis is that the drinks would have a negative impact.”

Chetry even referred to energy drinks as being “not really regulated.”

But energy drinks are regulated as a dietary supplement, which is defined under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994. According to the act, the Food and Drug Administration regulates energy drinks as a food, not as a pharmaceutical.

“This can in no way be considered a definitive report – it just generates a hypothesis about these particular beverages,” Kava added. “I don't know what cardiologists tell their patients about high-caffeine beverages or what the limits might be, but certainly drinking several such beverages per day are unlikely to be considered a moderate intake of caffeine.”