Caffeine and the Aware Parent

Kids and teens have impressionable minds. They are highly likely to make wrong drink choices. As responsible parents, we need to keep an eye on the drinks our kids reach out for to quench their thirst. Many drinks such as iced teas and fruit drinks on the market today include empty calories, and have almost zero nutritional value. Kids usually use these drinks to quench their thirst:

  • Sports drinks
  • Energy drinks
  • Soft drinks
  • Juices

If you have a teen, you educate them on the difference between healthy and unhealthy drinks; training them to choose healthier alternatives over the unhealthier ones. If your child is already addicted to an unhealthy drink, work on an action plan to free them from the clutches of addiction. Remember, an unhealthy drink impacts your child’s body and mind, which is why it is important that you act swiftly and decisively as recommended by family chiropractic care professionals in Rocklin.

Sports Drinks

Sports drinks are advertised to be the best product on the market for quenching thirst. Sports drink manufacturers sell their products claiming that it is loaded with electrolytes that helps rehydrate the body, which helps compensate for fluid loss after intense physical activity. What sports drink manufacturers never talk about is the dark side of their products. The sugar content in most sports drinks is off the charts. These drinks also contain unhealthy additives.

Studies show that sports drinks can cause up to 11 times more damage to the enamel than any other refreshments. This is due to the acid from the additives. [1].

Energy Drinks

From staying up all night for studying to getting up early morning for school, teenagers use energy drinks for a variety of reasons. Many kids start experimenting with energy drinks to cope with after-school activities and studies, and before they know, they develop an addiction.

Energy drink companies target youth, promoting their products as a panacea to all their issues. Energy drinks are often promised to be magic potions that can work wonders for the user’s performance. What energy drink manufacturers won’t tell you is that many energy drinks such as Red Bull contain a mixture of caffeine, taurine, and glucuronolactone [2], a type of sugar.

Soft Drinks

Soft drinks arguably are the worst of the caffeinated bunch. High sugar content makes soft drinks nothing more than carbonated, liquid candy bars. Imagine your kids consuming 3-4 liquid candy bars every day. Sounds scary? It is; and the worst part is that it is happening. Studies show that an average teenager gets up to 13 percent of their daily caloric intake from sugary drinks such as carbonated sodas and non-carbonated sports drinks, energy drinks, and juices. No wonder, researchers in Massachusetts were able to link obesity and an increase in soft drink intake.

Soft drinks harm your kids’ health in more ways than you could think. An increase in soft drink consumption not only means that your kid is consuming empty calories, but also that they are drinking less water and other healthy drinks to quench their thirst.

What is Caffeine?

Over the years, the consumption of caffeine has drastically increased. Many experts consider it to be the most popular drug in the world. Studies show that caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, which explains why caffeine users report an improvement in performance. Caffeine naturally occurs in the leaves, fruits, and seeds of more than 60 plants. Today, caffeine can be found in a number of items such as tea leaves, coffee beans, chocolates, soft drinks, pain relievers and other over-the-counter pills.

Caffeine is best consumed in controlled amounts. Including a moderate amount of caffeine in diet can improve mental alertness. High doses, however, can give rise to following problems:

  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • “The Jitters”
  • Insomnia

Additionally, caffeine is highly addictive. When a person who has become highly dependent on caffeine tries to get rid of their addiction, they may experience withdrawal symptoms such as headache, temporary depression, and severe muscle cramps.

And that’s not all! Caffeine addicts report an increase in the urge to urinate, resulting in fluid loss. The person also starts losing calcium and potassium, which often causes muscle soreness. Consuming caffeine regularly can also interfere with the recovery process after exercising.

Fruit Juices

Though fruit juices are a much better option than sports drinks and caffeinated drinks, they are not the best choice by any standards. Most fruit juices are not 100 percent juice, and include additives and sugar.

Most fruit juices are a mixture of water, sugar, and artificial flavoring. They have almost negligible nutritional value. Consuming packaged fruit juice regularly can give rise to a number of health issues. For that matter, even drinking 100 percent fresh fruit juices every other day or in large amount is not advisable, as it can also result in a number of health concerns.

The average baby bottle has a capacity in the range of 8 to 10 oz. When designing your kid’s diet chart, remember to factor in the number of bottles of juice you want your child to have every day.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, in a recent study, found that kids are consuming more fruit juice than they should. Instead, they must consume more whole fruits. Fruit juice does not offer any nutritional benefit over whole fruit. In fact, fruit juice lacks fiber that is provided by the skin of fruits.

In response to growing health concerns associated with the consumption of fruit juices, the body set forth the following guidelines:

  • Avoid giving fruit juice to infants below six months.
  • Parents must stop using bottles and transportable covered cups that allow kids to consume juice easily throughout the day.
  • Giving kids fruit juice before bed is a strict NO.
  • Parents must ensure that their kids’ juice intake be limited to
  • 4-6 oz (for kids 1-6 years old)
  • 8 -12 oz (for kids 7-18 years old)

An average drinking glass can hold at least 12 oz of liquid. Based on this fact, we can say that an average glass of 100% apple juice is the equivalent of three apples. Ask yourself, would you feed your child three apples in a space of ten minutes?

Though fruit juice undoubtedly is a better option than sugary drinks, the best choice for hydration is water.

What can I do?

Most kids hate drinking water. To make surethat your appeals to your child to increase their daily water intake, and reduce the consumption of their favorite soda, sports drink and juice does not fall on deaf ears, you need to come up with an action plan. A few things that you could do to free your child from the clutches of addiction are:

  1. Get rid of all sports drinks, soft drinks and fruit drinks in your home, ensuring that water and 100 percent fruit juice is the only option for hydration.
  2. If you think the above step is too harsh, go along with your child to retrieve their favorite refreshment from the refrigerator. Offer them water or a glass of juice. In case they have already had their quota of juice for the day, offer them just water.

Too much caffeine can be harmful for adults and certainly for kids. As tempted as your little one may be to drink a cup or two of soda that contains caffeine, ensure that they don’t. Instead, treat them with fresh juice or water infused with fresh fruits. Plan a visit to Connected Chiropractic to ensure your child’s general well-being and health. Call us today at 916-624-4553 to schedule an appointment.

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