Energy Drinks – They are called “Monster” for a reason!
The Dangers of Caffeine & Your Kids
Did you know that in the United States alone, 500 million cups of coffee are consumed daily! That is just coffee, we all know that there are other beverages out there that contain caffeine, these still add up to our daily intake.
It is evident that people are starting to consume caffeine at a younger age with energy drinks, sodas as well as coffee and tea. I am sure we have all seen the TikTok trend in 2020 of “Whipped Coffee”, this and much more is adding to the appeal for younger children to take up this addiction at a much younger age.
How much caffeine does it take to become dangerous and possibly lead to caffeine overdose? In researching for this article, I found that toxic doses are usually considered anything over 10 grams (10,000 milligrams) per day for an adult. To put that into context, one cup of coffee contains 80–175 milligrams of caffeine depending on the bean and preparation method. While it depends a lot on the person, a dose as little as 500 milligrams of caffeine and up could potentially produce some symptoms of caffeine overdose or cause negative side effects (more on that later). In most cases, it’s not only coffee that causes caffeine overdose but rather a combination of energy drinks and soft drinks — plus coffee or tea, too.
Here are a few of the most common caffeinated products out there that are accessible to everyone, including our children:
- 10 Hour Energy Shot: 422mg
- 5 Hour Energy Shot: 200mg
- ACE Energy Drink: 160mg
- AMP Energy Drink: 160mg
- Monster Energy Drink: 160mg
- Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper: 45mg
- Matcha Tea: 25–70mg
- Black Tea: 42mg
- White, Jasmine, Oolong Tea: 25mg
- Cocoa: 10-30mg
- Chocolate Milk: 10-15mg
- Herbal Tea: 0mg
More and more we are hearing of younger kids and teens drinking energy drinks/shots and having heart attacks or strokes. There are 12–18-year-olds that are having STROKES because they “need” caffeine to make it through the day especially during school. Energy drink companies are gearing their products towards kids making the cans bright cool colors and sponsoring athletes in crazy and interesting sports (for instance Red Bull and their extreme sports athletes) so of course they are going to choose a pretty can over a boring bottle of water. And then you have social media trends like the Whipped Coffee trend I mentioned earlier.
Recently we have been made aware of children that have been diagnosed with ADD & ADHD that are using energy drinks daily. It is very important for you to know that these drinks contradict with many ADD & ADHD prescription medications. This contradiction can cause exacerbated symptoms and sometimes causing increased heart rate, restlessness, anxiety, depression, tremors, difficulty sleeping, excessive urination and nausea.
Caffeine is among the most freely marketed addictive substances in the world. Although it is not as harmful as addictions to most other drugs, there are certainly a plethora of negative side effects that come with caffeine consumption. Here is a great graphic of some pros of caffeine use and just a few of the cons. Although the list looks somewhat even, the negative effects almost always outweigh the positive effects if caffeine is overused.
As your caffeine consumption increases, your body gets used to consuming it, so it takes more and more to get the “fix” you crave (alertness, focus, energy, coordination, etc.) As with most addictions, the withdrawal from caffeine can be uncomfortable. However, if you slowly reduce the amount of caffeine consumed every day, the withdrawal symptoms will be far more manageable.
Caffeine withdrawal is a serious, very real reaction to weaning yourself off energy drinks and other caffeine containing substances. Withdrawal symptoms can include headaches, anxiety, irritability, trouble concentrating, fatigue, digestive issues, constipation, and changes in appetite. Other ways to reduce these symptoms are to eat a more alkaline diet and drink a lot of water and exercise.
No one, ESPECIALLY our kids, should be drinking energy drinks. I hope this serves as a gentle reminder that maybe we could all look at our coffee and/or caffeine intake and see where we can reduce it. Please be very careful with your kids and caffeine and share this article with friends and family (especially those with ADD & ADHD that are on medications), the risks are real and sometimes deadly.
If you are looking for a safe way to increase your energy with supplements consider some of these energy boosting products:
– Amanda Rempfer