CHILDREN given energy drinks are piling on the pounds because they are not active enough to burn off the extra calories, doctors have warned.

The news comes as it emerged that Spain has the world’s fastest growing market for energy drinks, with a growth of 13 per cent in just five years.

The medics insist that energy drinks, containing up to 270 calories, should never be given to children.

One of the main problems with these refreshments is caffeine, which can reach toxic levels up to 14 times greater than in other soft drinks.

The stimulant has been linked to seizures, diabetes, heart problems and behavioural disorders.

Among the energy drinks that were highlighted as harmful were Red Bull, Monster and Rockstar.

Dr Holly Benjamin, of the American Academy on the Paediatric committee on nutrition, said most children’s activity levels are too low to burn off calorie-laden drinks.

She said: “Children don’t need them and they could contribute to obesity and tooth decay.”

Instead, children should be offered water to quench their thirst and drink the recommended daily amount of fruit juice and low-fat milk with meals.

Sales of energy drinks in Spain are expected to hit 71 million euros this year, up from 53.43 million euros in 2006.

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