Energy drinks: evidence brief

Evidence summary of caffeinated energy drink (CED) consumption patterns in children and young people in the UK and Scotland and the impact on their physical and psychological health and behavioural outcomes.

Annex 1 – Rapid Updated Evidence Search Protocol

The evidence search strategy comprised of three approaches to finding relevant papers:

a) Initial search online via google and google scholar to gain an early understanding of the literature and prominent papers. A snowballing technique was also employed whereby the references of prominent papers were reviewed for additional evidence.

b) A literature search in July 2020 of the KandE database, IDOX, Web of Science and Knowledge network. Keywords used were caffeine, energy drink(s), children, adolescents, young people, education, school, behaviour, harms, benefits, side effects, consumption.

c) A search within title and abstract on three ProQuest databases. Table 1 below lists the search terms.


First, a generic search was conducted by combining substance and age groups, then a more specific search included the additional string.

Table 1: Search terms of Proquest Databases

All searches



Age groups


Caffeine AND energy drink

Young people OR adolescents OR 16 OR 18 OR 21

Behaviour OR (school AND (behaviour OR performance) OR effects OR harm OR benefit

Energy drink

As above

As above

Inclusion Criteria:

The following inclusion criteria was applied:

  • Systematic review or primary study
  • Written in English language
  • Peer reviewed
  • Published since 2018
  • Reported a focus on children and/or young people up to and including age 21
  • Reported findings on CED use OR examined the relationship between CED consumption and the effects on physical or mental health or behavioural or educational outcomes
  • Research was conducted in the UK, Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

How to access background or source data

The data collected for this <statistical bulletin / social research publication>:

☐ are available in more detail through Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics

☐ are available via an alternative route <specify or delete this text>

☒ may be made available on request, subject to consideration of legal and ethical factors. Please contact for further information.

☐ cannot be made available by Scottish Government for further analysis as Scottish Government is not the data controller.



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