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Watch what you drink

Watch what you drink

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Published by Leonardo Mohamad

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Published by: Leonardo Mohamad on Mar 05, 2011
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02/01/2013

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“Energy”Drinks…Watchwhatyoudrink
MaterialcompiledbyLeonardoMohamadIILevelARURugbyCoach.http://miblogderugby.blogspot.comhttp://twitter.com/miblogderugby
 Most parents wouldn't dream of giving their kids a mug of coffee, but might routinely servesoft drinks containing caffeine. Foods and drinks with caffeine are everywhere, but it's wise tokeep caffeine consumption to a minimum, especially in younger kids.
What is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a drug that's naturally produced in the leaves and seeds of many plants. Caffeineis also made artificially and added to certain foods. It is isfound in coffee, tea, chocolate, energy drinks and somemedications.Caffeine is defined as a drug because it stimulates the centralnervous system and may increase an individual's alertnessand concentration. It is the only psychoactive drug (drug whichaffects the mind or mood) that is
legally available
to childrenand adolescents. While caffeine is generally considered
safe
for consumption
in moderation
by adults and children,concerns have been raised about the health effects of childrenconsuming large quantities of caffeine.
How Caffeine Affects Kids
The 2007 Australian Child Nutrition Survey estimated the
daily caffeine intake
of Australian children. Children aged 2-3years consumed 3.4mg of caffeine daily and 4-8 year oldsconsumed 8.1mg of caffeine. Caffeine intake increased to19.2mg in the 9-13 year age group and 41.7mg amongst 14-16 year olds. On average, boysconsumed slightly more caffeine than girls.In both kids and adults, too much caffeine can cause:
jitteriness and nervousness
upset stomach
headaches
difficulty concentrating
difficulty sleeping
increased heart rate
increased blood pressure
 Especially in young kids, it doesn't take a lot of caffeine to produce these effects.Other reasons to limit kids' caffeine consumption include:
Kids who consume one or more 12-ounce (355-milliliter) sweetened soft drink per dayare 60% more likely to be obese.
Not only do caffeinated beverages contain empty calories (calories that don't provideany nutrients), but kids who fill up on them don't get the vitamins and minerals theyneed from healthy sources, putting them at risk for nutritional deficiencies. Inparticular, kids who drink too much soda (which usually starts between the third andeighth grades) may miss getting the calcium they need from milk to build strongbones and teeth.
Drinking too many sweetened caffeinated drinks could lead to dental cavities (or caries) from the high sugar content and the erosion of tooth enamel from acidity. Notconvinced that sodas can wreak that much havoc on kids' teeth? Consider this: One12-ounce (355-milliliter) nondiet, carbonated soft drink contains the equivalent of 10teaspoons of sugar (49 milliliters) and 150 calories.
 
Caffeine is a diuretic that causes the body to eliminate water (through urinating),which may contribute to dehydration. Whether the amount of caffeine in beverages isenough to actually cause dehydration is not clear, however. It may depend onwhether the person drinking the beverage is used to caffeine and how much caffeinewas consumed that day. To be on the safe side, it's wise to avoid excessive caffeineconsumption in hot weather, when kids need to replace water lost throughperspiration.
Abruptly stopping caffeine may cause withdrawal symptoms (headaches, muscleaches, temporary depression, and irritability), especially for those who are used toconsuming a lot.
Caffeine can aggravate heart problems or nervous disorders, and some kids may notbe aware that they're at risk.One thing that caffeine
doesn't 
do is stunt growth. Although scientists once worried thatcaffeine could hinder growth, this isn't supported by research.
Foods and Beverages With Caffeine
Although kids get most of their caffeine from sodas, it's also found in coffee, tea, chocolate,coffee ice cream or frozen yogurt, as well as pain relievers and other over-the-counter medicines. Some parents may give their kids iced tea in place of soda, thinking that it's abetter alternative. But iced tea can contain as much sugar and caffeine as soda.A recent trend which has created considerable concern amongst health professionals is theregular consumption of 
caffeinated energy drinks
by children. Most energy drinks containapproximately 80mg of caffeine per 250ml can or about the same amount as a cup of coffee.However, some energy drinks contain as much as 300mg of caffeine. In Australia, legal loop-holes mean that energy drinks sold as "dietary supplements" can contain more than the 80mgof caffeine usually prescribed as the maximum caffeine quantity.
Teenagers and Energy drinks?
 
Energy drinks are highly caffeinatedbeverages that come in a variety of brands,flavours and sizes.
They are often advertisedto boost physical and mental energy but donot provide any special health benefits.Energy drinks typically contain other ingredients that include sugar, artificialsweeteners, amino acids, vitamins and herbs.At present, they are sold in most storesalongside soft drinks, juices and sports drinks.Energy drink “shots” are a concentrated formof energy drink. These have a high amount of caffeine in a smaller, 60-90mL serving size.Common brand names of energy drinksinclude:
Red Bull®
Amp Energy®
Rockstar Energy®
Rockstar Energy Shot®
Monster Energy®Energy drinks are not the same as sports drinks like Gatorade® and Powerade® which do notcontain caffeine and are formulated to rehydrate the body after intense exercise.Energy drinks have more caffeine than soft drinks. Caffeine gives energy drinks their stimulating effect. The amount of caffeine ranges from the amount found in 1 cup (240ml) of coffee to the amount found in 3 cups or more. See Table 1.
 
Beverage
 
Size(ml)
 
Caffeine(mg)
 
Sugar (g
)
Calories(kcal/)
 Cola 355 36-46 40 143Coffee240355119-181177-2680 2Red Bull® 355 113.6 39 156Monster Energy® 473 164 53 197Rockstar Energy DrinkShot®75 200 - -Nos® 650 343 74 296* Table 1 Caffeine and sugar content of select drinksSome energy drinks have more caffeine than the amount stated on the label. Ingredientssuch as yerba mate, guarana and black tea are natural sources of caffeine. Caffeine fromthese sources is not always included in the amount listed on the label.Health Canada states that healthy adults can safely have up to 400mg of caffeine per day(300 mg for women of childbearing age). Having more caffeine than this can make youirritable and nervous and may cause headaches and sleeplessness.Children should not drink energy drinks because the high caffeine content exceeds daily limitsfor this age group. Teens should limit caffeine due to the side effects. A healthy diet for children and teens does not include caffeine.Health experts are also concerned about the trend of combining energy drinks with alcohol.According to an April 2006 study in the medical journal Alcoholism: Clinical and ExperimentalResearch, the addition of caffeine can make alcohol users feel less drunk, but motor coordination and visual reaction time are just as impaired as when alcohol is drunk by itself.The Australian Medical Association said mixing energy drinks with alcohol could be leading tothe increase in drunken night violence.As with all soft drinks, ‘energy’ drinks, because of the high sugar content, can lead toproblems with excessive weight gain. This is more likely for teens who often consume largequantities of drinks in order to partake in sedentary activities such as late night computer gaming sessions.The high sugar content in the drinks is also being linked to dental problem. A recent studyconducted by the Australian Dental Association with consumer group Choice found thatenergy drinks had higher acid levels than most other fizzy drinks. Unlike tooth decay that iscaused by bacteria, acid can directly damage the enamel surface of teeth causing dentalerosion.It is very important that adults advise teens that:
Caffeine dehydrates the body so teens should always drink water with caffeinatedbeverages.
Energy drinks and alcohol are not good to consume together and can place people indangerous situations.
Consistent regular consumption of caffeine can create physiological dependence,which can have unpleasant side effects.
Teens who have sedentary lifestyles i.e. many hours on the computer, are atsignificant risk of obesity if they drink energy regularly.

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