Children as young as 12 years old are guzzling energy drinks. They have a long day of school, then sports practice and late nights of studying ahead of them. How do these young people make it through? Ah, yes, those energy drinks—sexy, sparkling and sweet. Yet many do not realize that one energy drink has the equivalent of 12 teaspoons of sugar and two shots of espresso. And even more alarming, kids often imbibe more than one of these drinks a day.
What they don’t often realize is that these fizzy, high-caffeinated energy drinks can cause negative health, social, emotional and behavioral issues, including dehydration, irregular heartbeat, heart failure, anxiety and insomnia. In fact, according to a 2011 edition of Nutrition Review, hospital emergency room visits by 12 to 17 year olds increased from 1,145 in 2007 to 1,499 in 2011.
Sadly, drinking too many of these super-powered drinks in a daily dose can even result in death. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that “energy drinks are not appropriate for children and adolescents and should never be consumed.”
So what are your options? Try replacing your afternoon energy drink with these healthy alternatives:
1. Drink water. When you are dehydrated, metabolic actions slow and you feel sluggish. Drinking water will help you feel more alert and energetic.
2. Eat healthy, protein-rich snacks. Lean proteins along with healthy fats and complex carbs deliver nutrients to your body and promote energy.
3. Drink some vegetables. Dark green vegetables like spinach, parsley and kale are great sources of B vitamins, which your body requires for metabolism to run at its peak.
4. Take a nap. A 30-minute snooze can relieve stress and bolster the immune system.
Here’s to your health!