Some research on the consumption of energy drinks on youth and their effects have been released. These indicate the need to educate our youth about energy drinks.
Question: Most energy drinks contain large amounts of caffeine. Caffeine has been thoroughly tested and deemed to be safe for adults by the U.S. Food and Drug Association along with many countries around the world. Energy drinks can provide a temporary energy boost due to the amount of caffeine in them. For most people an occasional energy drink is fine. However, consider why you need them. You are better and healthier getting your energy by having adequate sleep, being physically active, and eating a healthy diet.
Caution: Too much caffeine can lead to nervousness, irritability, insomnia, rapid heart beat, increased blood pressure. Mixing energy drinks with alcohol can blunt the feeling of intoxication which can lead to more alcohol-related injuries.
Recent research on the effects of energy drinks on children, adolescents and youth adults have showed some serious adverse effects such as seizures, diabetes, cardiac abnormalities or mood and behavioral disorders can a occur. Many energy drinks are high in calories which can also increase the risk of obesity.
Many parents may think that energy drinks are equivalent to soda or sports drinks. But soda can’t contain more than 71 milligrams of caffeine in 12 ounces, and energy drinks do not have any limits. Some energy drinks are higher than 300 milligrams of caffeine in 8.4 ounces.
Germany has reported that outcomes linked to consumption of energy drinks by tweens and teens have included liver damage, kidney failure, respiratory disorders, agitation, seizures, psychotic conditions, high blood pressure, heart failure and disruptions of heart rhythms, among others. Energy drinks do not have any therapeutic benefits and may put some youth at higher risk for serious health problems. No safe levels of consumption of caffeine have been established for children, adolescents and young adults.
Stop: Many energy drinks also contain other substances including guarana which contains caffeine. However, manufacturers are not required to list the caffeine from other ingredients including guarana on their label. Thus, the actual caffeine dose in an energy drink can be higher than what is listed on the label.
According to Dr. John P. Higgins, assistant professor of medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, energy drinks may be especially dangerous during sports. Caffeine may interfere with coronary flow reserve, which may contribute to heart attacks and abnormal heart rhythms in athletes. When caffeine is mixed with taurine (commonly found in energy drinks) it makes the heart pound harder.
Advertising of many drinks seem geared to youth. Help your child understand that they don’t need energy drinks, and they will be healthier without them.
DO THIS: Encourage children, youth, and young adults to drink water and low-fat milk. These are good drinks to choose any time and also during physical activity.
References: Center for Science in the Public Interest, , Caffeine Content of Food & Drugs; Goodman, B. . Report Finds Energy Drinks Risky for Kids at http://children.webmd.com/news/20110214/report-finds-energy-drinks-are-risky-for-kids ; Mayo Clinic,  Energy Drinks: Do they really boost energy?at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/energy-drinks/AN01303 ; Seifert, S. Schaechter, J., Hershorin, E., and Lipshultz, S. . Health Effects of Energy Drinks on Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults, Pediatrics online at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/127/3/511?maxtoshow=&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=Energy+Drinks&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=relevance&resourcetype=HWCIT