Kristi Lopez

By

College: Medicine

Energy Drinks Can Be Potentially Harmful for Children

Published: Mar 12, 2013
 
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 12, 2013) - The following column appeared in the Lexington Herald-Leader on Sunday, March 10, 2013.
 
By Dr. Donna Grigsby
 

You find them advertised in commercials on TV and prominently stocked on shelves in every grocery and convenience store, but while widely promoted, energy drinks should be consumed with caution and should never be used by children or adolescents who may be more vulnerable to their ingredients than adults.   

 

Found in brightly colored cans and marketed under names like Red Bull, Rock-star and Monster, energy drinks have large amounts of caffeine or other stimulants such as guarana or taurine.   

 

These products, especially those with high levels of caffeine, stimulate receptors in the body that control blood pressure, heart rate and your state of alertness. But they can also cause side effects such as restlessness, irritability and difficulty sleeping. Large doses of caffeine can also cause reduced blood flow to the heart and abnormal heart rhythms as well as shortness of breath and can worsen existing health conditions like diabetes, seizures and behavioral disorders.   

 

Energy drinks are marketed to give you an energy boost but, especially in children and teens’ growing and developing bodies, they have no nutritional value. For teens and children the drinks are unnecessary and possibly harmful.   

 

A healthy diet is the best way to get all of the energy needed without a boost of caffeine or other substances. In addition, water and low-fat milk should be the drinks of choice for children. Soft drinks should be limited or avoided.   

 

It ’s important for parents to read the labels of any beverage that a young person is consuming. This is especially true if it is an energy drink, a sports drink or flavored water, which sometimes have extra ingredients such as stimulants. When reading the label, parents should look for the presence of caffeine and be aware of the names of other types of stimulants such as guarana or taurine.   

 

To give a comparison, a regular cup of coffee has about 100 milligrams of caffeine and a can of cola has about 35-55 milligrams. However, energy drinks generally have a much higher content of caffeine and stimulants with a single serving often containing anywhere from 50 to 500 milligrams of caffeine. And the addition of guarana -- a plant extract that contains even much higher levels of caffeine (1 mg of guarana is equivalent to 40 mg of caffeine) — increases the caffeine dose even more, sometimes to dangerous levels.   

 

And while soft drinks and the amount of caffeine in them are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, there is no regulation or limits for energy drinks.   

 

Dr. Donna Grigsby is a pediatrician at Kentucky Children’s Hospital and chief of the Division of General Academic Pediatrics in the UK College of Medicine.

 
grigsby-donna-glandon.jpg
July
 
 
1
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
2
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Get Moving - A Walking Group for Caregivers
Wed
3
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
4
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
5
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sat
6
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Artful Sunday: Benday Dot Day
Sun
7
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Mon
8
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
9
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Get Moving - A Walking Group for Caregivers
Wed
10
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
11
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
12
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
International Youth Water Justice Summit
Sat
13
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sun
14
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Mon
15
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
16
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Get Moving - A Walking Group for Caregivers (with Dr. Greg Jicha)
Wed
17
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
18
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
19
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Color Water Balloon Fight
Sat
20
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Summer Salon: Landscape as Subject with Tom Barnes, Photographer
Sun
21
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Mon
22
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
23
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Get Moving - A Walking Group for Caregivers
Wed
24
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
25
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
26
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sat
27
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sun
28
 
Mon
29
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
30
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Get Moving - A Walking Group for Caregivers (with Mary Crowley Schmidt)
Wed
31
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
 
 

Repeats every day on May, June, July, August every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday and on the first Sunday until Sun Aug 17 2014 .
Wed, 07/30/2014

Repeats every day on May, June, July, August every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday and on the first Sunday until Sun Aug 17 2014 .
Thu, 07/31/2014

Fri, 08/01/2014 - Wed, 09/03/2014

Repeats every day on May, June, July, August every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday and on the first Sunday until Sun Aug 17 2014 .
Fri, 08/01/2014

Reset Page