Energy drinks have been proven by researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be highly consumed by kids and adolescents to boost their energy and fulfill their desire of caffeine intake. In the past, kids used to rely on soda to get their caffeine. However, now energy drinks and coffee have seemed to replace soda, because it did not turn out to be the ideal beverage. To make things worse, some teens tend to combine two or more energy drinks to increase their energy boost.
Kids rely on sports and energy drinks to give them strength throughout the day, allow them to exercise more, and to elevate their mood. However, children are not aware of the poisonous effects of these beverages. The huge amount of sugar consumed by children through energy drinks is dangerous and increases their chances of obesity, which by time causes a dramatic rise of sugar level in blood as well as other accumulative diseases. Studies have shown that even small quantities of energy drinks consumed resulted in serious adverse effects and sometimes fatal consequences. In addition, it is asserted by researchers that if energy drink intake increases, caffeine could reach toxic levels.
Although caffeine and kids do not make a good combination, no guidelines were ever set by the FDA to determine the right amount of energy drinks for kids. However, FDA limits caffeine in soda to about 5.4 mg per ounce. On the other hand, the analytic study that took place in 2006 demonstrated that an eight ounce serving of multiple energy drinks has more than twice the caffeine of a 12 ounce can of caffeinated cola, which is a big concern.
Energy drink consumption by anyone should be done in moderation because for both children and adults the high level of caffeine causes the following effects: excessive anxiety, constant feeling of upset stomach, insomnia, an increase of the heart rate and dehydration. Energy drinks vary in the concentration and sources of caffeine in them. However, there is one ingredient that is most effective, highly dangerous and unnecessary for children, which is guarana. Guarana is a caffeine-containing plant extract that is commonly used in most energy drinks. Recent analysis discovered that one gram of guarana is equivalent to 40 mg of caffeine, which is shockingly far more than the amount of caffeine included in cola and coffee.
Even though sports and energy drinks provide the body with fluids needed after an exercise and improve athletic performance as well as concentration skills, the risks and dangers caused by their consumption are far more serious. Plain water is deemed the best beverage to be used during and after exercise. Besides, a workout is the healthiest source of energy boost.
As a result, health and scientific reports were a wake-up call to increase the awareness among kids and adults. One way of reducing the exposure of youth to these drinks is to regulate the sales and marketing of these products. It is also urged to include warning labels that state the risks and health facts of effective ingredients used in energy drinks. Moreover, athletes should play a vital role in informing and enlightening young children and adolescence of the harmful effects caused by energy drinks, referring to their own training procedures and healthy behavior. Furthermore, advertisements of these products should be more informative rather than just appealing and must indicate the fact that they are not recommended for children because a lot of the combined ingredients used in these drinks could not be endured by younger children.
There are several levels that needed to be acted upon for the good of the society in general, and kids in particular, since energy drinks and kids are not a good combination. If a social move against energy drinks is combined with governmental efforts, public health will be achieved.
By Mona Salman