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Two in three dangerously underestimate how much sugar is in energy drinks

Date: 22 August 2018

Most British adults dangerously underestimate the amount of sugar contained within energy drinks, the findings of a new nationwide poll reveal.

Research carried by the Oral Health Foundation, which interviewed more than 2,000 members of the public, show almost two in three (63%) misjudge how much sugar is inside some of the country’s most popular energy drinks.1

A standard can of Red Bull has more than six teaspoons of sugar – the total recommended daily allowance for an adult, while some energy drinks on sale contain up to double that amount.

The charity is now campaigning to raise awareness around the dangers of energy drinks and the damage that can be caused by regular and excessive consumption.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, is deeply worried about the growth in popularity of energy drinks and the long-term effect it will have on the nation’s health.

Dr Carter says: “One in three British adults now regularly consume energy drinks, with many feeling as though they need them to function throughout the day.

“Most energy drinks have obscenely high levels of sugar and are extremely acidic. A dependence on energy drinks can very quickly lead to severe oral health problems such as tooth decay and dental erosion, as well as contribute to any number of other health conditions and diseases.

“Energy drinks add an unnecessary risk to the UK’s health and over-consumption is causing enormous, and in some cases, irreparable damage to oral health.”

The Oral Health Foundation is currently running National Smile Month, a campaign to promote good oral health and well-being through healthy lifestyles.

The charity campaign is being supported by some of the nation’s best-known brands and retailers, including Oral-B, Wrigley, Philips, Regenerate Enamel Science, POLO® Sugar Free and Curaprox.

“As consumers, we are now faced more choices than ever before and this is especially true when it comes to taking care of our diet,” adds Dr Carter.

“It is so important that we are aware of nutrition and sugar content, and are able to make smart and positive choices about the food and drink we buy, not only for ourselves but our family and children too. Not only do energy drinks have exceedingly high levels of sugar, they also have no nutritional value, so there really is no need to consume them.”

Earlier this month, the Oral Health Foundation called for severe changes to be made to the amount of sugar that energy drinks can include, in addition to how they are labelled, after uncovering dangerous levels of dependency.

The research showed more than one in four (26%) Brits need energy drinks to wake up in the morning while a similar number say they help to get them through the day (23%). Some thought it suppressed appetite (8%) while other admitted to feelings of addiction (4%).


  1. Oral Health Foundation (2018) ‘National Smile Month 2018 United Kingdom Survey’, Atomik Research, Survey, March 2018, Sample 2,005


Adapted by Institute of Dental Implants & Periodontics from original Oral Health Foundation post (June 18, 2018)

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