Energy Drinks Questionable for Kids

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Active kids suck down more than their share of water and Gatorade on the sidelines, but now energy drinks are being consumed by kids in record amounts. With more than 200 different kinds of energy and sports drinks available to kids — is there anything bad for kids in energy drinks?

“Sugar!” says Jill Obremsky, M.D., an instructor of emergency medicine at Vanderbilt.  The recent study that caused the American Academy of Pediatrics to launch new recommendations against energy drinks (like Monster and the like) for kids concludes that these beverages and sport’s drinks (like Gatorade) are no more beneficial to children than water, but higher in sugar content. Obremsky sites childhood obesity as a problem for kids who take in excess sugar — and the obesity rate for children is already sky high in Tennessee. Keep the sugar at bay for your kids as much as possible at home since they have so much access to it elsewhere — and keep it in mind when packing lunches for kids. “No, no, no, no sugar needs to be in your child’s lunch box!” Obremsky says. And it’s not just doctors down on high-sugar drinks. Dentists too are on the anti-sugar bandwagon. The sugar in these drinks and the acidity they create can damage tooth enamel. Going forward, and realizing that children like to have options in their beverage intakes just like adults do, the Food and Drug Administration recommends that children consume drinks with sugar and caffeine in moderation at the very least.

Susan Swindell Day is the editor in chief of Nashville Parent and the mom of four amazing kids.

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