“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 serve soft drinks containing caffeine. Foods and drinks with caffeine are everywhere, but it's wise to keep 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. Caffeine is also made artificially and added to certain foods. It is is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, energy drinks and some medications. Caffeine is defined as a drug because it stimulates the central nervous system and may increase an individual's alertness and concentration. It is the only psychoactive drug (drug which affects the mind or mood) that is legally available to children and adolescents. While caffeine is generally considered safe for consumption in moderation by adults and children, concerns have been raised about the health effects of children consuming large quantities of caffeine.

How Caffeine Affects Kids
The 2007 Australian Child Nutrition Survey estimated the daily caffeine intake of Australian children. Children aged 2-3 years consumed 3.4mg of caffeine daily and 4-8 year olds consumed 8.1mg of caffeine. Caffeine intake increased to 19.2mg in the 9-13 year age group and 41.7mg amongst 14-16 year olds. On average, boys consumed 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 day are 60% more likely to be obese. • Not only do caffeinated beverages contain empty calories (calories that don't provide any nutrients), but kids who fill up on them don't get the vitamins and minerals they need from healthy sources, putting them at risk for nutritional deficiencies. In particular, kids who drink too much soda (which usually starts between the third and eighth grades) may miss getting the calcium they need from milk to build strong bones 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. Not convinced that sodas can wreak that much havoc on kids' teeth? Consider this: One 12-ounce (355-milliliter) nondiet, carbonated soft drink contains the equivalent of 10 teaspoons 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 is enough to actually cause dehydration is not clear, however. It may depend on whether the person drinking the beverage is used to caffeine and how much caffeine was consumed that day. To be on the safe side, it's wise to avoid excessive caffeine consumption in hot weather, when kids need to replace water lost through perspiration. • Abruptly stopping caffeine may cause withdrawal symptoms (headaches, muscle aches, temporary depression, and irritability), especially for those who are used to consuming a lot. • Caffeine can aggravate heart problems or nervous disorders, and some kids may not be aware that they're at risk. One thing that caffeine doesn't do is stunt growth. Although scientists once worried that caffeine 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 a better 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 the regular consumption of caffeinated energy drinks by children. Most energy drinks contain approximately 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 loopholes mean that energy drinks sold as "dietary supplements" can contain more than the 80mg of caffeine usually prescribed as the maximum caffeine quantity.

Teenagers and Energy drinks?
Energy drinks are highly caffeinated beverages that come in a variety of brands, flavours and sizes. They are often advertised to boost physical and mental energy but do not provide any special health benefits. Energy drinks typically contain other ingredients that include sugar, artificial sweeteners, amino acids, vitamins and herbs. At present, they are sold in most stores alongside soft drinks, juices and sports drinks. Energy drink “shots” are a concentrated form of energy drink. These have a high amount of caffeine in a smaller, 60-90mL serving size. Common brand names of energy drinks include: • 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 not contain 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 Cola Coffee Red Bull® Monster Energy® Rockstar Energy Drink Shot® Nos®

Size (ml) 355 240 355 355 473 75 650

Caffeine (mg) 36-46 119-181 177-268 113.6 164 200 343

Sugar (g) 40 0 39 53 74

Calories (kcal/) 143 2 156 197 296

* Table 1 Caffeine and sugar content of select drinks Some energy drinks have more caffeine than the amount stated on the label. Ingredients such as yerba mate, guarana and black tea are natural sources of caffeine. Caffeine from these 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 you irritable and nervous and may cause headaches and sleeplessness. Children should not drink energy drinks because the high caffeine content exceeds daily limits for 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 Experimental Research, 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 to the increase in drunken night violence. As with all soft drinks, ‘energy’ drinks, because of the high sugar content, can lead to problems with excessive weight gain. This is more likely for teens who often consume large quantities 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 study conducted by the Australian Dental Association with consumer group Choice found that energy drinks had higher acid levels than most other fizzy drinks. Unlike tooth decay that is caused by bacteria, acid can directly damage the enamel surface of teeth causing dental erosion. It is very important that adults advise teens that: • Caffeine dehydrates the body so teens should always drink water with caffeinated beverages. • Energy drinks and alcohol are not good to consume together and can place people in dangerous 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 at significant risk of obesity if they drink energy regularly.

Is there evidence that these energy drinks increase energy?
There is limited evidence that consumption of energy drinks can significantly improve physical and mental performance, driving ability when tired and decrease mental fatigue during long periods of concentration.

Cutting Caffeine
Can you keep kids caffeine-free? Absolutely! The best way to cut caffeine (and added sugar) is to eliminate soda. Instead, offer water, milk, flavored seltzer, and 100% fruit juice. For added convenience, serve water in squeeze bottles that kids can carry around. You can still serve the occasional soda or tea — just make it noncaffeinated. And watch for hidden caffeine by checking the ingredient list on foods and beverages. If your teen has taken up coffee drinking, one cup a day can easily turn into several (as most adults know), especially if your teen drinks it to stay awake during late-night study sessions. The best way to reduce coffee caffeine intake is to cut back slowly. Otherwise, kids (and adults) could get headaches and feel achy, depressed, or just downright lousy. Try substituting noncaffeinated drinks for caffeinated sodas and coffee (water, caffeine-free sodas, and caffeine-free teas). Keep track of how many caffeinated drinks your child has each day, and substitute one drink per week with a caffeine-free alternative until he or she has gotten below the 100-milligram mark. Someone cutting back on caffeine may feel tired. The best bet is to hit the sack, not the sodas: It's just a body's way of saying that more rest is necessary. Don't worry — energy levels will return to normal in a few days. Feel free to let kids indulge in a sliver of chocolate cake at birthday parties or a cup of tasty hot cocoa on a cold day — these choices don't pack enough caffeine punch to be harmful. As with everything, moderation is the key to keeping your kids' caffeine consumption under control.
Sources: • Caffeine and your child. Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD. February 2009 http://kidshealth.org/parent/growth/feeding/child_caffeine.html • • • • • Medical Dictionary. http://www.virtualmedicalcentre.com/Medical_Dictionary.asp?termid=3941&title=Caffeine Energy Drinks and Teenagers: Do You Understand the Risks? by Chris on August 25, 2010 What are energy drinks? http://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthfiles/hfile109.stm Karrie Heneman & Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr. Energy Drinks. Nutrition and health info sheet. Publication 8265. University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural resources.

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