Issue No. 20
Bad Buzz About Energy DrinksDate: April 19, 2013
Excessive caffeine consumption, especially from energy drinks, is making everyone take a closer look at what we—and our kids—are drinking.
“Caffeine is a mildly addictive, psychoactive drug associated with negative health consequences, including increased heart rate, palpitations, insomnia, anxiety, hypertension, bladder instability and pregnancy complications,” says Johns Hopkins researcher Steven Meredith, Ph.D. “Vulnerable individuals, such as children, pregnant women and those with certain heart conditions, should avoid excessive consumption.”
Though adults should consume no more than 500 milligrams of caffeine per day, experts set a much lower limit—100 milligrams—for teens (ages 13 to 19) and advise no caffeine for children younger than 13 because of the amplified effects on their smaller bodies and their lower caffeine tolerance. A recent study showed that up to 75 percent of kids ages 5 to 12 consume caffeine daily.
A 12-ounce cup of coffee contains about 100 to 400 milligrams; energy drinks contain 50 to 500 milligrams, plus high amounts of sugar, which can elevate blood glucose levels and lead to weight gain.
If you’re a parent, share the risks of too much caffeine with your kids, then look at labels together to help limit or eliminate caffeine in their diet.