Energy drinks consist of water, sugar, flavourings, (often) colourings and various chemically synthesised substances. These are basically taurine, glucuronolactone, caffeine, inositol and different vitamins. Recently, energy drinks with natural ingredients – such as the extract of the guarana plant seeds that contains caffeine – have found their way on the market. The ingredients and additives are listed on the packaging in accordance to food laws.
Energy shots are classified as food supplements in Austria. They contain the same amount of ingredients in a considerably lower volume than that of a standard energy drink can (250 ml), irrespective of sugar and water levels. Thus, it is considered a concentrated form of energy drink in terms of caffeine and other substances.
The energy shots sold on the Austrian market carry the following or similar notifications:
- Do not consume more than one portion per day
- Not suitable to replace a balanced diet
- Keep out of reach of children
- Not suited for children, pregnant women and caffeine sensitive persons.
Taurine occurs naturally in foods, especially in fish and other seafood. Taurine ingestion is several times higher when consumed via energy drinks than when ingested via normal eating.
Glucuronolactone is naturally very common in plants and animals. However, only a small number of foodstuffs containing glucuronolactone are known (e.g. wine). Glucuronolactone intake is usually several times higher when ingested via energy drinks than via other foods.
Energy Drinks According to the Austrian Food Code
Energy drinks contain a minimum of 11g carbohydrates and, thus, contain calories of at least 44 kcal or 187 kJ per 100 g or 100 ml. They contain a minimum of 250 mg caffeine per 1,000 ml. Furthermore, vitamins, minerals, taurine, glucuronolactone and inositol may be added.
The following amounts per 100 ml beverage are considered as reference values:
- Caffeine 32 mg
- Inositol 20 mg
- Glucuronolactone 240 mg
- Taurine 400 mg