One of the health topics that has been hitting the news recently is whether or not teens should consume energy drinks.
Are these drinks providing a short-tem energy boost while creating long-term health problems? The answer is yes according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Neither children or teens should be drinking energy drinks.
Difference Between Sports and Energy Drinks
Sports drinks are fruit flavored drinks that contain electrolytes and carbohydrates (usually in the form of sugar). Electrolytes are minerals such as potassium, sodium and chloride.
When a person works out super hard some of these electrolytes are naturally lost. Sports drinks should only be consumed during prolonged vigorous exercise. In most cases, just regular tap water is all that is needed.
Energy drinks also contain sugar and might contain electrolytes, depending on the brand. In addition, energy drinks contain a stimulant which often is caffeine. These drinks are designed to give a person extra energy or alertness.
Dangers of Energy Drinks
- Contribute to obesity. Because of the large amount of sugar and sodium, when a teen drinks can after can of energy drinks, the weight will pile on. In addition, the drinks will cause the teen to crave other sugary foods and drinks.
- Increase heart rate. Not every energy drink contains caffeine, but they all contain some type of stimulant. Too much of this stimulant can cause a teen’s heart rate to drastically increase. This can become very dangerous and has caused heart rhythm problems and seizures for some teens.
- Interfere with sleeping. Most teens don’t get enough sleep as it is. By consuming energy drinks, a teen can experience agitation, anxiety and even insomnia. This then leads him to consume more energy drinks to try to stay awake during the day.
Encourage your teen to drink plenty of water and to avoid energy drinks. Initially, he or she will most likely experience withdrawal systems, but reassure him/her that it will be worth it.