According to the CDC, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that adolescents do not consume energy drinks, yet between 30-50% reported consuming energy drinks. Caffeinated beverages are usually loaded with added sugars, and other chemicals, including legal stimulants such as guarana, taurine, and L-carnitine. These legal stimulants can boost alertness, focus, and energy while also raising blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate. Most college students are addicted to energy drinks and caffeine. It is so common when some students decide to stay up all night to study for upcoming exams or when students didn’t have enough sleep and energy, they would over-consume energy drinks. Energy drinks are flavored, non-alcoholic beverages that include high amounts of caffeine and other chemicals to stimulate the body which is the reason it is preferred by many students. Even though they are advertised to help the body operate efficiently, there is no scientific evidence to support their health benefits.
How much is safe to consume?
The recommended intake is usually 400-500 mg/day which is equivalent to 3-4 cups of coffee; however, some students end up drinking more. Caffeine abuse by teenagers has a magnified effect on their bodies and minds, resulting in headaches, rapid heartbeat, dehydration, upset stomach, and in some circumstances, much worse.
Based on Rawhide Youth Services and CDC, some common side effects include:
- Heart complications
- Sleep disorders
- Upset stomach
- Rapid heart rate
- A headache
- Difficulty concentrating
Tips to encourage college students to avoid energy drinks:
Parents should raise awareness about the ingredient list and the health risks associated with energy drinks. In addition, encourage to practice healthy eating habits, drink lots of water, engage in plenty of physical activity, and get enough sleep. The CDC highlighted some beneficial tips such as students can be educated about the dangers of excessive caffeine consumption, particularly energy drinks, by teachers and other school staff. Athletes can learn to distinguish between energy drinks and sports drinks, as well as the hazards of consuming highly caffeinated beverages, by their coaches. Fruits with natural sugar content can be used as a substitute for soda or coffee drinks. Staying hydrated can help individuals eat less, speed up their metabolism, and flush out toxins. Lastly, set a good role model for your children by avoiding these drinks.
Healthy alternatives to boost energy?
- Green tea
- Protein shakes
- Green smoothies (spinach, kale)
- Matcha tea
- Beetroot juice