Children should stay away from energy drinks and they hardly ever need sports drinks, according to a recent report published in the journal Pediatrics.
“There is a lot of confusion about sports drinks and energy drinks, and adolescents are often unaware of the differences in these products,” said Dr. Marcie Beth Schneider, co-author of the report. “Some kids are drinking energy drinks—containing large amounts of caffeine—when their goal is simply to rehydrate after exercise. This means they are ingesting large amounts of caffeine and other stimulants, which can be dangerous.”
Researchers analyzed studies on sports and energy drinks that don’t include any stimulants. There were a variety of ingredients including vitamins and herbal extracts that could potentially come with side effects.
To be on the safe side the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:
—Pediatricians should highlight the difference between sports drinks and energy drinks with patients and their parents, and talk about the potential health risks.
—Energy drinks pose potential health risks because of the stimulants they contain, and should never be consumed by children or adolescents.
—Routine ingestion of carbohydrate-containing sports drinks by children and adolescents should be avoided or restricted, because they can increase the risk of obesity, as well as dental erosion.
—Sports drinks have a limited function for pediatric athletes; they should be ingested when there is a need for rapid replenishment of carbohydrates and/or electrolytes in combination with water during prolonged, vigorous physical activity.
—Water, not sports drinks, should be the principal source of hydration for children and adolescents.
(Photo: Tim Boyle/Getty)