Energy Drinks: Warning

Many athletes feel a dip in energy, especially mid-afternoon. Poor sleep, skipping meals or eating low-quality foods, and pressure to perform can cause many athletes to try energy drinks. We may associate energy drinks with university-aged students, but young children and teenagers are increasingly consuming these dangerous beverages. 

While most of us realize that energy drinks are a poor choice in comparison to say, water, many youth (especially teens), think energy drinks are the same as sports drinks. And while these energy drinks are used to boost energy, a whole host of consequences come from them, such as: 

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And what about those ‘healthy’ additions to energy drinks? While energy drinks may contain some vitamins, they usually also contain:

  • Guarana: Guarana works by stimulating the nervous system, but because it is high in caffeine, consumers are at an increased risk for caffeine overdose. 
  • Sugar: Sugar is widely known to negatively affect cardiac health, promotes development of type II diabetes, and increased risk for obesity. 
  • Very high amounts of caffeine. Caffeine can cause irritability, nervousness, nausea, and heart palpitations-and some products contain up to 350 mg of caffeine (about 10 times what you’d find in your average can of caffeinated pop). And many children find the bright-coloured packaging and small can size appealing in the refrigerator-leading to many children accidentally ending up in the emergency room. In fact, children under 6 accounted for more of half of energy drink-related toxicology cases involving child illnesses in the United States.

And, in conjunction with B vitamins, the body can become over-stimulated and over-stressed. This is why it is very important to monitor your child’s beverage consumption, and give healthful options like:

  • Fresh-pressed juices (always add a vegetable for extra vitamins!)
  • Smoothies, with energy-packed additions like nuts and berries. 
  • Water! Water is a great thirst-quencher and can make those 4 p.m. dips more tolerable. 

 

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