Energy Drinks & Caffeine

  • Sports and energy drinks are increasingly popular with children.  
  • Energy drinks contain stimulants like caffeine.  Some of the energy drinks contain so much of them, that it is equal to drinking 6 cups of coffee or 14 cans of caffeinated soda.  Scientists say caffeine can affect the development of a child’s nervous system and cardiovascular system.  
  • There are many areas of concern from drinking too much caffeine.  It can…     
    • impair children’s sleep with insomnia
    • make children jittery, nervous, and restless
    • affect the development of the nervous and cardiovascular systems
    • cause gastrointestinal disturbances
    • cause heart palpitations
    • add unwanted calories
    • displace healthier drinks
    • become an addiction.  Like alcohol, the more one drinks caffeine, the more one needs to consume to get the same results.
    • cause withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop.  Kicking the addiction is not pleasant, causing headaches, fatigue, negative mood, causing some people to continue consuming caffeine to avoid the withdrawal symptoms. 

  • Many parents and coaches encourage kids to consume energy drinks as performance-enhancing drugs, which is what energy drinks truly are.  Kids’ bodies cannot handle large doses of caffeine all at once.  The amount of caffeine is often not labeled in energy drinks.  We are unwisely saying to a child, "When you are tired, don't take a nap.  Drink a drink.  When you have worked hard, and it is time to go to bed and you want to do more, have a supplement, so you can do more."  That is not the right message, and it is harming kids as evidenced by the large number of energy room visits.  My advice to kids:  Eat real food, drink water and milk, and go to bed on time."  (Dr. David Agus, CBS News, August 1, 2013)

Statistics
  • 30% of teens say they regularly drink energy drinks which are loaded with caffeine and sugar. 
What You Can Do

  • Drink Water.  Pediatricians say the best way to keep young people hydrated is just plain water before, during and after practice.  (American Academy of Pediatrics, and KREM-2 TV, May 2011)