'6 times as much caffeine as soft drinks.' What you need to know about Prime drinks.

Prime Hydration and Prime Energy drinks are the new must-have accessory that kids love and parents like me don't really...understand.

While these weirdly flavoured drinks (Meta Moon and Ice Pop anyone?) have been around "for ages" according to my nonchalant 12-year-old, for many of us adults with bills to pay and lives to live, it's as if they have suddenly appeared in the global consciousness OVERNIGHT.

So, what even is Prime?

Created by controversial YouTube megastar and UFC fighter Logan Paul with British boxer and rapper KSI, the duo claim that their colourfully packaged thirst-quenchers are "the fastest growing sports drink in history." 

And if you have kids suddenly begging you to go to Woolworths to get their hands on some sweet Prime, then you can probably believe it. 

Individual 500ml bottles of Prime Hydration sell for around $4.50 in most major retailers but sell at higher prices in smaller stores because of limited stock. Prime Energy drinks are banned from retailer shelves in Australia because of their caffeine content, but can still be purchased online for around $20. 

And it's not just YouTubers and their tween-age groupies lining up for a taste.

Kim Kardashian reserved a prize spot on her Instagram feed this morning to pose with son Saint who was holding a strategically placed blue coloured bottle of Prime Hydration at the Arsenal football grounds in London. Arsenal announced their partnership with the energy drink moguls just eight months ago and Prime is the official drink of UFC. 


Do we need to worry about Prime?

In Australia, Prime Hydration, the sports drink is still the only version of the brand available in stores, but it's a different story online. 

Available to purchase from a variety of resale sites, Prime Energy drink contains caffeine – and lots of it. Just one can of Prime Energy drink contains double the legal limit as per Australian government regulations and SIX times the amount included in a regular caffeinated soft drink.

To put it in more relatable terms, one can of Prime Energy drink is equivalent to close to three shots of espresso coffee, and that would definitely not be considered okay as a 'treat' for your eight-year-old after school. 

On the Prime website it says that the energy drink is 'not suitable for under 18s' but as the popular drink makes its way into homes and now classrooms thanks to the unstoppable YouTube frenzy, parents and teachers have concerns.


Ellie* a primary school teacher from NSW told Mamamia that the kids (mostly boys), in her year three classes are obsessed. 

"When choosing table group names for the term, one group of 16 kids unanimously agreed to call their table 'Golden Prime’ and at the time I didn't know what this was and so blindly agreed," she said.

"One of the boys in my class proudly produced an empty bottle of Prime from his school bag last week telling everyone it had cost $15 and offering to his friends to smell the empty bottle to get the scent of the liquid he claimed 'tasted like medicine', but still drank it anyway.

"This morning I had a parent thrust a bottle of Prime through the school fence to give his eight-year-old just before the bell rang. Not great!"

According to the ABC this morning, many schools are now considering whether to ban the drink completely but with stock running out almost everywhere due to the immense hype surrounding the product, they may not need to worry.


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Dietitian and father of four Chris Hughes took it upon himself to find out more about Prime, it's sudden popularity, and it's suitability for kids.

"So well was it marketed to kids, that our boys wanted us to import it from the USA back in October," the founder of MEALZEE said.

"Marketing to kids via YouTube (the medium our boys are not meant to be watching), is so effective that the desire to buy becomes an avalanche."


Chris says that while many people can consume the products without issue, the safety concerns relate to kids.

"Firstly, let's talk about the ingredients of Prime Hydration and Prime Energy. Despite the claim that these drinks are 'Naturally Flavoured', both these drinks contain sweeteners like sucralose and acesulfame potassium, which are certainly not 'Natural.' 

"Sucralose is made by chlorinating sugar molecules, while acesulfame potassium is made by combining acetoacetic acid with potassium. This does not mean that they are bad for you, as both these sweeteners are considered safe for consumption in moderation."

Chris says that after looking at the label and wading through the hype, he purchased his kids their first bottle of Prime Hydration.

"Printed on the side is a warning about the product not being safe for children under 15 years of age (yes I know, dietitian and parent of the year). 

"After looking at the ingredients though, I could not see anything that stood as a potential health risk for kids other than the 'potential risk' from the sweeteners mentioned above. Yes, these products could be replacing better alternatives like water or milk, and the risk of them wasting money was evident, but from an immediate health risk, there was little I was concerned about."

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Regarding Prime Energy, he says it is a different story.

"This product is of concern if marketed towards kids due to its high caffeine content. Caffeine works by blocking the action of a neurotransmitter called adenosine that builds up in the brain the longer we are awake. Adenosine makes us feel tired and sleepy. Sleep is critical as it helps us to recover and grow. If we are blocking the action of adenosine, we are then limiting the depth and quality of our sleep. For kids, this is a major concern."


While no parent wants kids who can't sleep (no thanks Prime), Chris says there are many other worrying issues resulting from too much caffeine including insomnia, heart palpitations, anxiety issues, and increased blood pressure. 

"It [caffeine] can also interfere with the absorption of certain minerals such as calcium and iron, leading to deficiencies in these nutrients. For adults, it's thought that 400mg per day is safe. Be mindful though, this will be way too much for some individuals and not enough for others. The effects can vary from person to person. For kids though, there is no safe level. While Prime Hydration and Prime Energy may provide a quick fix to dehydration and fatigue, they are not without their potential risks."

As experts like Chris advise against kids guzzling back the energy version of Prime, parents might need to stand strong on the kids' demands for health's sake. 

Laura Jackel is Mamamia's Family Writer. For links to her articles and to see photos of her outfits and kids, follow her on Instagram and TikTok.

*While Ellie is known to Mamamia, her name has been changed for privacy reasons.

Feature Image: Instagram @kimkardashian / Canva / Supplied.

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