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
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:
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.