210 million 'addicted' to energy drinks

The favoured beverage of tech geeks the world over has come under fire as research shows as many as 210 million people are 'addicted' to so-called energy drinks.

Wisconsin's National Institution of Recreational Drinks (and we thought we were overladen with unnecessary quangos in the UK) recently conducted a study of 200 regular caffeine-laced pop drinkers in which they were asked to refrain from downing their favourite eye-boggling tipple for 24 hours.

The boffins found that the terms the subjects used to describe their state of mind after the forced abstinence - frantically craving, very anxious, extremely antsy, miserable, jittery and crazy to name but a few - were almost identical to those experienced by drug and booze addicts.

The NIRD reckons the data proves that the "disease of energy drink addiction" now affects 210 million people globally, and that figure could rise to 380 million within 20 years.

The vast majority - some 86 per cent - are in the 18-34 age group and the US tops the table with nearly 41 per cent of those in that age bracket thought to be in some way dependent on the likes of Red Bull.

As with just about anything involving numbers and people nowadays, China slots into a respectable second place with just under 40 per cent.

The study also found that the worst affected rarely drank "functional drinks" like fruit juice or water.

The whole situation has become so worrying that an organisation called Think Before You Drink has been set up to prevent addiction. The lobby group also intends to ask the UN to pass a resolution on the use of energy drinks, particularly among children.

So next time you sit down to a marathon World of Warcraft session armed only with a two litre bottle of your favourite crank in a bottle, you might want to reconsider the consequences.

Perhaps a triple espresso would hit the spot?