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Call to BAN energy drinks from Australian building sites as tradies ‘falling apart’ from poor diets

A leading construction trainer has called for energy drinks to be banned from Australian construction sites because traditional businesses consume so much of the unhealthy drinks that their work and health suffer.

Paul Breen, who trains up to 500 young traders each year in western Sydney, told the Daily Mail Australia that the sugary, caffeinated drinks are slowing down traditional trade.

Young artisans arrive at workplaces with a habit of consuming several energy drinks a day to compensate for lack of sleep and poor physical condition.

Electrician apprentice Matt Glass told Daily Mail Australia the drinks are so cheap that his colleagues have “two for breakfast and two for lunch” every day.

But the drinks make the young craftsmen worse at their jobs because it affects their concentration and mental health.

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Leading construction trainer Paul Breen has called for the ban on energy drinks on Australian construction sites because craftsmen consume so much of the unhealthy drinks that their work and health suffer. Electrician apprentice Matt Glass (above) quit energy drinks after Mr. Breen’s training and completing his own research

Some reports say students get a taste for high school energy drinks, with adults reporting seeing up to 30 students in the morning queuing to buy them from servos near schools.

Mr Breen, who runs Productivity Bootcamp to prepare traditions for the construction industry, said the bins at his Penrith site are filled with empty energy drink cans every week.

“We throw the trash cans in front of them and say, ‘Guys look at this, look what you’re doing to yourself’.”

He said the young tradies “get a burst of energy and confidence at first” from the drinks, and they copy their friends who buy into the brands, in part because of their extreme sports image.

“After a while their young bodies begin to crumble,” Mr. Breen said.

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Paul Breen said that once young traditions understood the benefits of healthier foods — and that drinking water and eating a good breakfast will give them energy throughout the day — they are eager to change their diet. Pictured: Traders participating in his course

‘They have sleeping problems and that has major consequences for their concentration and mental health. It’s like putting bad gas in a good engine.

“I think they should be banned.

“They should get rid of the vending machines they also sell from major sites. I guarantee employees wouldn’t kick ass if those drinks weren’t there. They’d just drink water if that’s all that’s all there is.”

Mr. Breen’s company provides skills training and nutrition for teens who start out as “couch potatoes with no strength in their backs and legs, no core strength.”

Often their poor physical condition is the result of a poor diet, including too much fast food, soft drinks and energy drinks.

Multiple studies have linked sugary energy drinks to breast, prostate and colon cancer, as well as obesity and mental health problems, including increased anxiety, depression and difficulty concentrating.

He said that once the teens understand the real benefits of healthier foods — and that drinking water and eating a good breakfast will give them energy throughout the day — they’ll be happy to change their diet.

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Dentist Dr. Kaejenn Tchia (pictured) said teenagers lose their teeth in extreme cases, partly due to energy drinks

Mr. Glass, a third-year electrical engineering student, quit energy drinks after Mr. Breen’s training and completing his own research.

“I’ve researched what doctors said about it, and people as young as 23 were having heart attacks from drinking too much, in Australia and the US,” he said.

Last year, an unnamed 21-year-old English university student spent 58 days in hospital and became eligible for an organ transplant after drinking four 500ml energy drinks every day for two years.

Mr. Glass said he tries to scare off his colleagues, but most won’t listen.

While one energy drink is equivalent to a cup of coffee, the low price of packaging means that young people consume up to four of the drinks in a few hours, and their energy levels ‘crash’.

Nutritionists say traditions aren’t the only ones affected.

Workers in many early-start jobs, such as distribution, hospitality and even offices, pack energy drinks for a morning kick, said Leanne Elliston, a dietitian and spokesperson for Nutrition Australia.

After drinking up to six cans a day for seven months, Mr. Pyner developed a toothache.  He hid his teeth from his mother until the front four teeth broke when he bit into an apple

After drinking up to six cans a day for seven months, Mr. Pyner developed a toothache. He hid his teeth from his mother until the front four teeth broke when he bit into an apple

The destructive effect of an energy drink on tooth enamel, literally causing the tooth to crumble - the small, pink pieces on the tooth root are actually chunks of enamel

The destructive effect of an energy drink on tooth enamel, literally causing the tooth to crumble – the small, pink pieces on the tooth root are actually chunks of enamel

“Absolutely, it’s a problem. If you have them regularly, your body gets used to them, so it becomes more than a habit. It’s an addiction.’

Ms. Elliston said people should be moderate with energy drinks, but often they won’t because one jug, or bottle, can’t provide the energy needed for an entire work day.

“It kind of works, because it gives them quick energy to get the job done.

“The crucial factors that are missing is obtaining sustained energy and trying to minimize the huge peaks and dips that occur with energy.

‘As soon as they get the hit, it falls away’ [and] so find someone else.’

dr. Kaejenn Tchia, a Darwin dentist and spokesperson for the Australian Dental Association, said it is common knowledge that drinking energy and soft drinks for years puts a person at risk of losing all their teeth.

But the constant consumption of energy drinks in younger age groups means it’s happening much sooner than expected.

‘Across Australia, tooth decay and tooth erosion is certainly more common in younger populations.

“We tend to see in very severe cases that, coupled with poor oral health, energy drinks knocked people over and led to tooth loss.

“In extreme cases, that happens in teens and early twenties.”

A statement from the Australian Dental Association said energy drinks and sports drinks can damage teeth by causing tooth decay, tooth erosion and sensitivity when the enamel is literally eaten away.

The culprits are sugar and the high acidity in energy drinks.

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