Selling energy drinks to those under the age of 16 should be banned, according to the charity Action on Sugar.

Research conducted by Action on Sugar shows that 78% of energy drinks on the market contain a high amount of sugar,with some containing up to 20 teaspoons of sugar, 78g, per 500ml serving, which is more than three times an adult’s maximum daily allowance.

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: “Teenagers are consuming 50% more sugar than the maximum recommended amount and the biggest contribution comes from sugary drinks.”

Responding to the calls, the British Soft Drinks Association said: “BDSA does not promote energy drinks to children under 16 and all products are clearly labelled in compliance with EU regulations.”

Amit Patel of Belvedere Stores, Kent, said a minimum price band would be more sensible. “Children rarely buy expensive makes such as Red Bull or Lucozade, they go for 35p or 69p budget brands,” he added.

Susan Connolly from Connolly Spar, Wiltshire, believed that children should be educated on the down side of the soft drinks. “Reducing the price will only make them want them more,” she added.

James Lowman, chief executive at Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), said: “Many of our members have voluntary policies in place to restrict the sale of energy drinks to young people, and a lot of positive work has been carried out between retailers and local schools to help children make healthier choices.”