Consumption of several new categories of beverages has increased significantly in recent years. Sold in cans and bottles in many venues and heavily marketed as health and strength enhancing, these beverages have become popular among children and adolescents as well as adults.
Energy drinks, sports drinks, fruit drinks, flavored waters, and sweetened teas and coffees are known collectively as fortified beverages due to the natural and artificial ingredients that are added in the processing of their main ingredient, water. In view of their rising popularity, it is important to assess the healthfulness of these beverages and the implications of their consumption by the general public. Consumption by youth, to whom marketing is often targeted, is of particular interest in view of children's potentially increased vulnerability to chemicals and other added substances. Further, the possible contribution of these beverages to the high prevalence of childhood obesity merits attention.
This report will discuss the major categories of fortified beverages, presenting data on their nature, their ingredients, their similarities and differences, the possible effects on children of their consumption, and areas for further research.