Are Energy Drinks Detrimental To One's Health?
Most people consume caffeine almost every day. From coffee to sodas, from teas to energy drinks. We are aware that too much caffeine can wreak havoc on our health. But it seems that people are turning a deaf ear on the warnings doctors have issued over the years. Most children are hooked on energy drinks such as Red Bull and Monster. Dr. Deb Kennedy, the founder of buildhealthykids.com started a blog that caught the ire of Monster energy drinks. She appeared on the Dr. Oz Show and expressed her concerns about the dangers of these energy drinks. According to research, energy drinks are loaded with caffeine and sugar. Hospitals in the US have reported that many children have visited the ER for a couple of years due to consumption of energy drinks. Kennedy outlined her concerns about why children should avoid drinking this product.
1. Sugar content- Children love sugar and these energy drinks are high in sugar content.
2. Caffeine- We don't know how much caffeine is in the energy drinks because the manufacturers do not say how much caffeine is stored in these drinks.
3. Energy drinks have other ingredients such as taurine and ginseng- They call these herbal speed. They are stimulants that may pose risks to a child's health.
Dr. Oz mentioned that a 24 oz of energy drink is equivalent to 2 1/2 cups of coffee and 7 tbsps. of sugar. They are usually served cold and children consume it rapidly. He advised viewers not to let their children consume energy drinks.
Dr. Kennedy received a letter from Monster energy drink stating a cease and desist order. She was asked to retract her statement or face legal action. Bob Arnold, a medical consultant for Monster Energy Drink said that there have been no reported deaths in children after drinking Monster. According to Arnold, their company is responsible and they don't advertise to children. Most energy drinks are not properly labeled. An energy drink has 80 mg of caffeine. Arnold believes that children shouldn't be drinking caffeine. Some groceries consider an energy drink as a supplement, but now they are in the Food and Beverage aisle in the supermarket. They promised that by April, 50% of their cans will place caffeine in their labels.
Steven Lipshultz, a pediatric cardiologist mentioned that some health disorders in children have occurred after consuming energy drinks. These include children being jittery, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, increase in blood sugar, seizure disorders, dangerous heart rhythms. These are commonly seen in poison control systems in the US. The age range of the children who succumb to these symptoms is under 6 years old. Most poison control centers have reported a high volume of calls related to drinking energy drinks. Most victims have been required to seek medical attention. The FDA has issued a warning saying that children and pregnant women should limit their caffeine intake including energy drinks.
Dr. Kennedy provided some alternatives to safeguard their children's health.
1. Set an electronic curfew- Don't use electronics one hour before bedtime. This allows children to sleep better and have greater stamina.
2. Eat or drink green leafy vegetables- Make a smoothie containing greens. Put cups of greens such as baby kale, a cup of raspberries, 1 cup of almond milk, and 1/2 cup of vanilla yogurt. Blend it in the food processor and drink it during breakfast. This is considered an "upper" for all children and adults.
There are many healthy alternatives to energy drinks. If most people consume vegetables and fruits all day, then we have created a healthy lifestyle for our families, especially for our children.