Energy Drinks & Teens: A Good Combo? - Ascension Wisconsin

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Energy Drinks & Teens: A Good Combo?

Energy drinks boast an increase in energy, alertness, performance and concentration. They are heavily marketed to teens, and even children are jumping on the energy drink bandwagon.

These drinks have gained recent media attention with reports of increases in emergency room visits due to excessive caffeine intake and combining energy drinks with alcohol.

“While an occasional energy drink is fine, many children and teens are consuming three or four energy drinks a day,” says Nicholas Akgulian, MD, family medicine physician with Wheaton Franciscan Medical Group - All Saints. “The primary ingredients in energy drinks are sugar and caffeine. Both can provide a temporary energy boost, but that fades very quickly, leaving the person zapped of energy. And the sugar can cause weight gain.”

Unpleasant Side Effects

Unpleasant side effects of too much caffeine include:

  • Jitteriness
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Upset stomach
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty sleeping

Caffeine can also affect a teen’s calcium absorption, cause dehydration and lead to caffeine dependence or intolerance. Additionally, energy drinks often contain other ingredients not regulated by the FDA.

“Teens should try to limit caffeine consumption to no more than 100 mg of caffeine daily, and children should consume even less,” says Dr. Akgulian.

That includes the caffeine found in soda, chocolate, coffee and tea.

“The best way to cut back is by replacing caffeinated drinks with non-caffeinated ones, but do it slowly to avoid withdrawal symptoms," Dr. Akgulian advises. "They may feel tired at first, but their energy should return in a few days.”

The Best Way to Boost Energy

The best way to boost energy comes from eating well, staying hydrated and getting enough exercise and sleep. If your child’s fatigue is affecting his/her quality of life, talk with his/her doctor.

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Energy Drinks & Teens: A Good Combo?