Because childhood is such a vibrant time of participation and discovery, we all want our children to lead active, fulfilling lives.
There are healthy and unhealthy ways to make sure this occurs. In the diets of many kids and teenagers, caffeine has assumed a harmful role.
According to Lila Bruk, a qualified dietitian and spokesperson for the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA), there is concern with some energy drinks that go over the daily maximum suggested for children.
Energy drinks, as defined by the Cleveland Clinic, are liquids with high concentrations of caffeine and other stimulants, such as sugar, sweeteners, herbal supplements, vitamins, and taurine.
They are not governed as foods because they are sold as nutritional supplements and their labels frequently conceal the exact quantity of caffeine in each drink as a result.
Although it is not advised for children to consume these drinks, more kids are doing so over time.
Boys consume more energy drinks than girls in the 11 – 18 age range, according to a study from Seattle Children’s Hospital. Those who drink more of these beverages are the most and the least sedentary.
Energy drinks claim to increase vigour, endurance, focus, athletic performance, and even weight loss.
However, there are both healthy and unhealthy ways to make sure this happens.
Negative effects have been connected to these products, according to “Medical News Today”, raising the question of whether they are safe to consume.
Parents and educators are experiencing caffeine headaches as a result of the new energy drink, PRIME, not to be confused with the PRIME hydration drink at Checkers.
According to “Parents”, a monthly magazine founded in 1926 that offers scientific data on child development geared to assist parents in raising their children, PRIME energy drink has more caffeine than drinks like Red Bull and has become a must-have beverage for pre-teens and teens.
It has been dubbed “the fastest-growing sports drink in history” by two well-known YouTube influencers, investors, and Super Bowl ad campaign stars.
PRIME has generated so much controversy and is now prohibited in schools, where, according to parents on Twitter, children are reportedly even buying and selling the beverage.
This energy drink contains more caffeine than is healthy for anyone under the age of 18 and is part of a category of drinks that also includes sports drinks, energy drinks, and drink mixes.
This popular energy drink is part of a category of drinks that also includes sports drinks, energy drinks, and drink mixes.
Due to its unusual nutritional profile, it was immediately outlawed in Australia and New Zealand after its debut in the UK in 2022.
According to “7News”, PRIME energy beverages provide 200mg of caffeine every 355ml can, which is equivalent to 2.5 Red Bull cans, three large coffees, or six Coca-Cola cans. Pumping so much caffeine into a child is difficult enough.
The PRIME official website warns that persons who are pregnant, nursing, or under the age of 18 should not consume energy drinks.
However, it doesn’t seem that this will stop the company from marketing to tweens and teens, especially those who are susceptible to being persuaded by macho advertising that extols notions of “manliness”.
For active kids, the term “energy drink” makes them sound like healthier alternatives. However, the truth is that caffeine is not safe or healthy for children, let alone teenagers.
Bruk warns that, “Caffeine specifically can cause children to struggle with anxiety, insomnia, dehydration, heart complications, and hyperactivity.
“In the case of children with underlying conditions, such as heart or kidney conditions, caffeine can be particularly detrimental – these side effects can turn into emergencies.
“In the case of large amounts of vitamins in some of these drinks, they may contain as much as double the recommended amount for children, which can lead to toxicity if the child drinks these drinks on a very regular basis.”
According to Bruk, many of these drinks contain very high amounts of vitamins.
“This can be a concern in pregnant women, as the popular drink at the moment is very high in vitamin A, which can be dangerous for the unborn foetus. In addition, those individuals who already take a lot of supplements may potentially be at risk of toxicity”, she says.
Children can develop an addiction to nearly anything, including coffee, just like adults can.
These are all red flags if a youngster regularly uses caffeine, depends on it to keep alert and energised throughout the day, or experiences frequent dehydration.
“Energy drinks and similar drinks can also predispose the child to have a reliance on sweetened (albeit artificial sweeteners in many drinks) drinks rather than prioritising water, which is the ideal beverage choice”, Bruk says.
“There are mixed results from research as to whether artificial sweeteners are a health risk, but for many people who try to avoid these substances, these drinks would pose a problem”, Bruk says.
Bruk suggests that people over the age of 18 consume energy drinks. In the end, kids shouldn’t need energy drinks because they should have enough energy if they eat a balanced diet and get enough sleep.
To make sure there are no underlying issues, your child should be assessed by your doctor if they lack energy.
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