TAMPA - A group of high school seniors at Plant High School drink plenty of water. But they enjoy other beverages as well like energy drinks, Hadley Curtiss said, "It makes me feel more awake and not so tired," he said.
Brittany Rudolph will indulge in more than one can of her favorite drink. "It adds a little step to my day," she said.
But, exactly how much caffeine could these teens be consuming? Dr. Christine Canody said it's an alarming amount no matter which brand you choose. "It is about 6 or 7 soft drinks all in one or as potent as 5 cups of coffee," she said.
The problem: soda is regulated by the FDA because it falls under a food category. Energy drinks are marketed as dietary supplements, so they can packed with almost anything the manufacturer wants.
"So the fact they are not regulated for children poses even higher risk for children because of the potent affects of caffeine in uncontrolled doses," Canody said.
Most energy drinks have some type of warning, including "not recommended for children." But, experts feel many of those have been ignored, especially by teenagers.
A new study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, a board of more than 60,000 doctors, is asking Doctor's like Canody to include warnings about energy drinks during doctor visits.
Canody thinks it's a great idea. "We have seen more anxiety because of it more mood disorder some kids can actually become psychotic with caffeine and in rare cases fatalities."
Back in May, ACTION NEWS told you about Drew James, a 19 year old from Nassau County. His mother Cheryl is convinced her son died by consuming to much caffeine in energy drinks.
The medical examiner wouldn't answer our questions but did list cardiac arrhythmia as a contributor to his death.
Canody hopes this new recommendation will make more people aware. "I think anything we can do is a help," she said.
Judging by Hadley and Brittany's response, a simple warning from a doctor may go a long way.
"If a doctor said they are kind of dangerous, yes! Yeah I would stop." Hadley said
Brittany added, "I would definitely follow what the doctor said because they are not saying it for nothing. So yes."
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