Energy drinks: are they healthy?

Energy drinks: are they healthy?

Sugary sodas have received plenty of attention lately due to their potentially harmful effects, but often energy drinks escape from scrutiny and are still packed into school bags daily in many households. Unfortunately, most of these beverages are not as innocent as what they may seem, and as a parent, it is up to you to draw the line.

 

Energy drinks are often high in sugar

 

You might think you need to provide an additional sugar source for times of exercise, but this really just defeats the object of physical activity. For energy during sport or exercise, kids must eat a wholesome lunch and be encouraged to snack on fruit if they need a boost.

 

The importance of replacing electrolytes may be overstated

 

Yes, we do lose electrolytes when we exercise, but the body has finely tuned physiological processes to manage this. In reality, electrolyte replacement is probably only relevant in extreme sporting events, and unlikely to be an issue of any consequence after a game of soccer or a dance lesson.

 

Energy drinks contain other ingredients that can be harmful to children

 

Many of the compounds in energy drinks have only been tested in adults, and kids really don’t need caffeine, guarana or herbal supplements for extra energy. Some studies have observed that these compounds may cause heart arrhythmias and other problems in children. The extra energy kids need comes from being physically active and eating a well-balanced diet.

 

Nothing beats water

 

The importance of preventing dehydration in children is widely acknowledged, but somehow we have forgotten the most effective way to do this. Water is the best beverage in the world, and whether you’re packing drinks for school or sport, or serving beverages at meals, water must be what you’re reaching for the vast majority of time.

 

The information in this article is intended for general purposes only. If you have any concerns about your health or the health of your child, you should always consult with a healthcare professional.