In the first part of our series on energy drink side effects, we outlined some of the health hazards athletes encounter after regular consumption of these sugary syrups. Here, we hone in on energy drink facts related to consumption by children and adolescents.
Whether it’s the flashy coloring, aggressive advertising, or sweet configuration, energy drinks are growing in popularity among children and young adolescents. And there’s good reason to be concerned.
That’s due to the growing number of health hazards these bombastic beverages are proving to present. Cardiac abnormalities and behavioural issues are just some of them.
Here are some serious energy drink facts to consider.
Energy drink ingredients are loosely regulated and understudied, meaning the final composition of these beverages is often unknown. However, one ingredient we can count as an ever-present is caffeine. Lots of caffeine. Some energy drinks contain both caffeine and Guarana, a South American fruit that contains more than twice the amount of caffeine of coffee beans.
Given the often mega-sized portions these beverages are packaged in, a single can or bottle of energy drink can contain up to 400 milligrams of caffeine – about the maximum recommended daily dosage… for adults. Couple that with the abundance of sugar contained within, and the kids are quite simply playing with fire when reaching for these toxic libations.
Studies have demonstrated some alarming energy drink facts related to consumption among children. Firstly, children and adolescents who regularly consume caffeine suffer from attention drop-offs and slower reaction times compared to those in their age group that go caffeine-free. As they say, what goes up must go down.
Cases of illness associated with energy drink consumption among children and adolescents have skyrocketed in the United States in recent years with abnormal heart rhythms, dangerously high blood pressure, and seizures all commonly reported. Headaches, compromised sleeping patterns, irritability, and subsequent mood swings are some other side effects of regular energy drink consumption among children and adolescents.
Never mind the short-term improvements in energy levels and attention, these are the alarming energy drink facts parents should be paying attention to.
Given there are absolutely no health benefits derived from energy drink consumption, it is no surprise that the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends that children and adolescents avoid these fizzy fluids.
Yet, the manufacturers of these beverages seem to disagree, and are specifically targeting those most susceptible to adverse health effects through youth-aimed marketing campaigns. Perhaps they are conveniently ignoring the rise in emergency room visits that are directly linked to consumption of their products.
In an ideal world, mandatory warning labels on energy drink products, prohibition of sales to children, and stricter regulation of dangerous marketing practices would help protect youth from health hazards. In reality, however, parents need to stay vigilant and protect their children from addictive and dangerous substances that are, sadly, widely available.
So, the next time your child seeks a cheap burst of energy from a synthetic substance, remind them of some of the aforementioned energy drink facts. Better yet, offer them clean drink and food alternatives, ones that are packed with health benefits rather than health risks.
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