Are Energy Drinks Healthy for Teens?

As the world becomes more obsessed with living a healthy lifestyle why do we find the popularity of energy drinks on the rise? Teens, who are much more health conscious these days, are reaching for energy drinks without realizing the potential health risks. Most teens realize that a cup of coffee or a can of soda contains caffeine. However, the same kids do not realize the amount of caffeine in the energy drinks they are consuming.

Part of the problem is that the amount of caffeine varies greatly depending on the brand of energy drink consumed. A can of Hair of the Dog contains no caffeine while the more popular brands such as Rockstar, Monster, and Red Bull contain about 10 mg per ounce. This means if teens drink a 12 ounce can of Coke, they are consuming about 35 mg of caffeine. However, if they consume 12 ounces of Rockstar, they are ingesting 120 mg of caffeine. Worse yet, Rockstar’s Energy Shot contains 80 mg of caffeine per ounce. Even a 10 ounce bottle of Starbucks Frappucino contains 90 mg caffeine while Starbucks Double Shot contains twice as much.

Another problem with energy drinks is that teens use them as a way to give themselves a boost before or after playing sports. Since the energy drinks contain so much caffeine, they act as a diuretic instead of as a way to rehydrate the body. Additionally, some students want a boost to get them through long study sessions. While they may feel more energetic initially, the effects of the caffeine wears off and teens begin to feel drowsy. They feel the need to reach for another energy drink to feel more energetic. This puts teens in an unhealthy cycle of caffeine high and then crashing.

Even though caffeine is addictive, most people do not consider it a drug because it is not illegal. However, energy drinks are addictive. If a teen drinks an energy drink every day for several days in a row, the first day they skip their energy drink they can experience headaches, trouble concentrating and irritability which are signs of withdrawal. Parents look the other way as their teens consume energy drinks because they are not consuming illegal substances.

Teens have easy access to energy drinks. Initially there were just a few brands to choose from, but now there are hundreds of brands of energy drinks. They are sold everywhere including drug stores, gas station convenience stores, and grocery stores. They can buy an energy drink at the same store they are picking out their school supplies. If your teens are drinking energy drinks, make them aware of the amount of caffeine they may be consuming and the effects it could have on their health.

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