Academy of Pediatrics: Few sports drinks, no energy drinks for kids/teens

We know it’s hot and kids are sweaty when they come back in from playing but The American Academy of Pediatrics says sports drinks should be consumed sparingly by kids and teens and the energy drinks should NOT be consumed at all!

The academy warned in the June issue of Pediatrics that downing Gatorade, Powerade and other sports drinks can increase the risk of weight problems in the average child.

It also warned that the effect of large amounts of caffeine and other stimulants have not been tested on kids and there are potential risks. It warns there can be a lethal dose of caffeine.

From MedPage Today:

“Energy drinks often contain the same carbohydrates, minerals, and electrolytes as sports drinks, but also have stimulants like caffeine, guarana, taurine, ginseng, L-carnitine, and creatine.”

“Guarana boosts total caffeine content as one gram equals about 40 mg of caffeine; taurine potentiates caffeine and may cause coronary vasospasm…”

” ‘The total amount of caffeine contained in some cans or bottles of energy drinks can exceed 500 mg (equivalent to 14 cans of common caffeinated soft drinks) and is clearly high enough to result in caffeine toxicity,’ it warned. ‘A lethal dose of caffeine is considered to be 200 to 400 mg/kg.’ “

“Other concerns center on caffeine’s effects on developing neurologic and cardiovascular systems; the risk of physical dependence and addiction; and the acidic pH in the drinks that could contribute to dental erosion.”

The article did says sports drinks were OK for teens who were participating in high endurance and high intensity sports. The article stresses kids should be drinking water.

I have had approximately one energy drink, and it made me feel horrible. Some tea mixes have too much caffeine and guarana in it for me. I can’t imagine giving that to your child.

I totally can see how parents would serve sports drinks though and think they couldn’t be bad for kids.

Do you regularly let your kids and teens have sports drinks or are they only reserved for after intense work outs or games?

Have you ever given a kid or teen energy drinks? (I have one baby sitter who drinks them like water. I don’t know how she handles them.) How do they handle them?

62 comments Add your comment

HB

June 1st, 2011
1:03 am

Sports drinks are no better or worse than other sugary drinks. I know so many parents who seem to think their children need flavored drinks in sippy cups all day. Kids shouldn’t regularly be given juice, kool-aid, soda, or sports drinks. All sugary drinks should be consumed sparingly. As for high-caffeine energy drinks — duh!

Big Mama

June 1st, 2011
1:25 am

My husband thinks I am cruel but I only allow my children (ages 2 and 6) to drink milk or water. I know they will discover the joys of sodas etc. at some point in the future but I hope to forestall that as long as I am able. If for no other reason than to spare their teeth all that sugar.

DB

June 1st, 2011
6:03 am

@Big Mama — don’t worry, you aren’t the only cruel one! My kids had milk at least twice a day when they were young (breakfast and dinner), and when they got older, they had a choice between milk or water. I know there’s arguments against milk, too — but that’s not a battle I want to engage in.

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Jeff

June 1st, 2011
7:22 am

I will sometimes giver my daughter powerade or a childrens’ fruit drink. It’s better than sodas.

shaggy

June 1st, 2011
7:51 am

Go ahead and let them drink that “sugar, caffiene, and whatever else is thrown in” sports drink, carbonated gook, etc… They will thank you later for that extra flab and kidney, gall bladder, and urinary problems later. A good old kidney stone is a gift that keeps on giving, and they will lovingly remember mom giving them this crap when they were little morons…got the habit going.

Water is just boring, milk is on the down swing -because of PETA puppets-, and what kid in their right mind will own up to liking grapefruit juice? Mine that’s who…. I tell him that he can have a beer when he gets of age, after all, it is an ancient drink, older than wine.

motherjanegoose

June 1st, 2011
7:54 am

MIne did not drink much except juice, milk and water when they were under 10. I never put soda or tea in a bottle. To me, if you are old enough to be drinking it, you do NOT need a bottle.
Mine were off the bottle at age one.

I grew up on Tang, Kool Aid ( the kind you had to mix the sugar in) and Hi C or Hawaiian Punch. We did not drink sweet tea ( imagine it) which I love. We really did not even drink a lot of water…maybe from our garden hose in the summer….anyone else? I am sure that was sanitary :(.

Once our kids hit middle school, they drank soda as my husband does drink it. I could give it up forever and would not care…except Ginger Ale or Sprite when I am sick. I DO need my coffee!

Neither of mine really like coffee, as I did when I started college and needed it to wake up. Our son does drink a can of Red Bull sometimes and I know that is not good for you! Not much I can do as he is out on his own and in the medical field.

When we were a Plimouth MA on Sunday ( the way they spelled it) I learned all sorts of interesting things. The guides were in costume and answered as if it were the exact time period. A question was asked about cavities and the answer from the Massasoit was that sugar had not yet been introduced, to their diet, and so cavities were not common. Interesting!

motherjanegoose

June 1st, 2011
7:55 am

@ shaggy…I also learned that they mixed beer with water, on the Mayflower, as the water was not clean enough to drink on it’s own.

Dennis

June 1st, 2011
7:58 am

I’ve seen plenty of kids who never break a sweat during a baseball game chugging down 32 oz of Gatorade or Powerade in an hour. There’s an extra 200 calories and 56g of Carbs and Sugar. Completely unnecessary, but the soft drink companies who market these products have lowered the price on them so far that they are almost free when bought on discount at grocery stores.

Parents should be looking at all sources of caffeine – and not just Energy drinks. Coffee, tea, soft drinks, and Energy drinks are all sources of caffeine and if you are buying your teen Starbucks – you are giving about as much caffeine as some of the most popular Energy drinks.

Techmom

June 1st, 2011
7:59 am

This has become a battle in my house to the point where I’ve stopped buying all sodas & sports drinks in the past month or so. My son is now 16 and has never been a fan of water (literally, the little turd would gag on it as an infant). He drank milk and watered-down apple juice almost exclusively until he was school age but he’s never grown to want water. He’ll drink it after exercising or ball practice when he’s hot and thirsty but an hour later he wants something else and will not think twice about water unless I tell him to. My husband and I both drink water though I admit that I force myself to. I’ve never really liked drinking a lot of water either but I know the benefits and therefore I drink it. We have a rule that you only get 1 soda a day but that’s hard to enforce in the summer. He does like Sprite mostly which is the lesser of evils to me (no caffeine) but still, he drinks too much sweet stuff. He’s not overweight and he gets plenty of exercise, it’s just not good for you is my theory. To alleviate some of the argument, I do buy the Crystal Light or Kool-Aid packets that can be out into a bottle of water and will make decaf sweet tea once a week or so.

He’s not really into energy drinks that I know of. The few times I’ve seen him with one (he knows not to ask me, no way I’m plunking down 3 bucks for a drink) has been when he’s been out with friends. Normally he’ll bring it home and then I’m tossing a half-full can the next day b/c he didn’t finish it.

shaggy

June 1st, 2011
8:04 am

MJG,

Yep, those Pilgrims were a partying bunch. They were also seen setting fire to their asian hemp ropes and standing around in a circle doing deep breathing exercises. Then they raided the pantry for some doritos.

shaggy

June 1st, 2011
8:09 am

Yeah, I marvel at just how those humans survived on water for…THOUSANDS OF YEARS!
However, that did lead to beer, and for that I thank them.

shaggy

June 1st, 2011
8:12 am

MJG,

Oh, and if ever in Mexico, drink the tequila to be safe. Nothing bad can live in tequila, not even the worm. You might forget how you ended up under some stranger’s toilet, but you will not get Monteczuma’s Revenge.

JJ

June 1st, 2011
8:17 am

Water, water, water. I probably drink close to 2 gallons of water a day. I start the day off with one little cup of coffee, then it’s water, water, water for the rest of the day.

I recently bought some Koolaide (I add my own sugar), and I have forgotten how good the Cherry Flavor is…….

And milk. I LOVE Milk and usually have about 2 glasses with dinner every night. Sometimes I buy a 1/2 gallon for the office and and drink a glass with my lunch.

Sodas are ok in moderation. I usually have a 12 pack ou t in the garage and will grab one or two on the weekends. My daughter likes the occasional PowerAde. But she’s a water junkie like her Mom.

Jen

June 1st, 2011
8:26 am

My kids didn’t love water either, but I tried the new Mio water enhancer, and now they drink it all day! It comes in small bottles and you just add a small squirt or two to a glass or bottle of water. It adds flavor, but no sugar or really calories! I love it myself!

homeschooler

June 1st, 2011
8:31 am

We keep only water and milk in the house. If ever I buy a carton of orange or apple juice, it’s gone in 2 days so I don’t buy it. My husband and I live on coffee (regular in the morning, decaf later) but the kids drink only milk and water. My son drinks sweet tea at restaurants and at grandma’s house. My daughter usually chooses water. My kids will never drink an energy drink as long as I can control it. I truly think for teenagers it can lead to drug use. I just don’t like the thought of them purposefully trying to alter their state of mind. (when I was a teen, most of the kids who took the “over the counter” caffeine pills, also smoked pot, drank a lot of alcohol etc)
Some drinks, like Capri Sun Sport, are only 50 calories but, the bigger kids want to drink two and three of them.
My biggest concern is parents who give their kids the artificial sweeteners. Hint….that sweet taste has to come from somewhere. If it says (only 10 calories..etc..) it has to have aspartame or sucrolose in it). Crystal lite and many of those flavored things you put in water bottles are loaded with artifical sweeteners. DO NOT give them to your kids. Kids need to learn to just drink water.

motherjanegoose

June 1st, 2011
8:35 am

JJ…too funny about milk. I do not drink milk but my husband loves it. I rarely even have a bowl of cereal. I do like yogurt and cottage cheese. My kids still like milk.

Are you close to the bathroom? If I drank close to 2 gallons of water per day, I would be in there all day! Is that 32 glasses per day? Math is not my best subject but are there 16 cups in a gallon? Even 10 glasses, of water, per day would be a LOT for me. I would be floating. Probably really good for your kidneys!

shaggy…you are nuts :)

homeschooler

June 1st, 2011
8:45 am

A friend of mine has three teen girls who LOVE orange juice. To keep costs and calories down, she has trained them to drink orange juice only out of 4oz juice glasses. They can have one glass with breakfast. I just thought this was a really good idea. Nobody wants to drink water with breakfast.

JJ

June 1st, 2011
8:59 am

Sweet tea is just as bad. Sweet tea is nothing more than brown sugar water. Sorry, I’m not from the south, and I cannot stand sweet tea. I love a nice cup of Lipton tea, but no sugar in it.

MGJ – I guess my bladder is used to all this water, I don’t hit the bathroom as much as you would think. As a matter of fact, I am now on my second glass of ice water, since I got to work at 7:30 this morning.

jarvis

June 1st, 2011
9:14 am

I used to suffer from stress-related headaches. They were especially bad when I would take a test. The day I took my GMAT I thought I’d head it off by taking some over the counter Excederin Migraine. Little did I know that it was packed with caffine.

I also hadn’t slept well the night before the test. (I suppose that was also anxiety related.) Anyway, I stopped by Publix on the way to my test and bought a Sobe Energy to help me get a boost after the sleepless night.

A really long story made slightly shorter, the combination of the migraine medicine and energy drink had my heart beating so fast that I actually felt nauseous through the entire test. 3 hours of jitters while taking the GMAT was total hell. In the end, my score was good enough to get me into school, and I never got a headache…mission accomplished sort of.

RJ

June 1st, 2011
9:20 am

My son plays sports and drink Gatorade all the time after practice and games. If his metabolism is anything like his dads, weight will never be an issue. Plus, he needs to re-hydrate his body. I have no problem giving him Gatorade. Doctors have often recommended Gatorade for rehydration.

My husband has an addiction to Sprite. It drives me insane. I drink water most of the time because I can’t stand really sugary drinks. But all he wants to drink is Sprite. I told him this weekend that it has to stop. My son is picking up on his bad habit and I can’t allow that to continue to happen. If I see another can I’m throwing them out. He knows I’m not joking. It’s gotten out of hand. I guess if he could gain weight he might look at it differently, but he has an extremely high metabolism. He eats horribly, doesn’t exercise much except for playing basketball with my son, and doesn’t even have a gut.

jarvis

June 1st, 2011
9:21 am

@Techmom, I’m with your son on plain water. I can’t stand it. There’s a reason the saying for something bland is that it “tastes like water”.

That said, I know it is important to drink it, so I make myself chug a good bit of it everyday, but I get absolutely no enjoyment out of it.

Techmom

June 1st, 2011
9:29 am

@homeschooler – it’s a lot easier to control what your kids eat & drink (and do, see, hear, etc.) when you homeschool them. It’s not quite as easy when your kids are older and go to school, drive, go to friends’ houses, etc. What will you do when your kids get older?

motherjanegoose

June 1st, 2011
9:29 am

@ JJ…I know sweet tea is bad. That and coffee are my only vices. I drink 2-3 cups of coffee per day and probably 2-3 glasses of sweet tea. Not AS sweet as some here fix it.

We have some dear friends who lived in Texas before they moved here 20 years ago. We met them here, about 10 years ago. Whenever we went out to eat and the waitress asked if we would like sweet tea, the wife always said, “they don’t have sweet tea in Texas.” I reminded her that we now live in Ga. Fast forward and they DO not have sweet tea in Texas and most times when I am ordering it, I call her to tease her. My husband even sent a picture of a glass of sweet tea that he ordered ON THE RIVERWALK IN SAN ANTONIO. I even had sweet tea in North Dakota…in April. That was really a shock!

No sweet tea in Boston…but the seafood and Italian food was wonderful!

Jarvis…I once took an Excedrin, for a headache, before bed. I could NOT go to sleep. I then read the label…duh…what was I thinking? Another chapter in stupid stuff I do not know but had to learn! Any tips for eliminating the stress headaches? My sister suffers from them all the time…do not tell me to eliminate the stress…that is not possible in her job.

JJ

June 1st, 2011
9:39 am

My entire family is into water. Every time we go to a restaurant, everyone, even the kids, order water. Once in a while, one of the nieces will get a sweet tea. But usually, it’s water all around. I love lemon in water at restaurants, but for some reason, I just like straight water at work and home. And I don’t buy fancy waters either. Once in a while, I’ll buy a case of Publix purified water. I cannot stand spring water…..

Mark Arum

June 1st, 2011
9:57 am

As a child, sports drinks always gave me diarrhea anyway. Back then we didn’t have “energy drinks”. Water is probably best.

homeschooler

June 1st, 2011
10:21 am

@techmom.. Like I said, “as long as I can control it”. I’m not obsessive about what my kids eat or drink. I believe that I am setting the standard on what I expect by buying only water and milk and letting them get what they want to drink at restaurants. (btw.. they will get water once they stop getting kids meals at restaurants, I won’t pay 2 dollars for a glass of sweet tea). I will educate my kids on how caffeine, artificial sweeteners and other chemicals affect their bodies and leave them to make that choice. I don’t foresee them buying their own drinks until they are 16 or so. Like anything else, we can only give them the tools and hope they make good decisions.
btw..my sister-in-law owns a drug screening company and just went to a workshop where she learned tha RedBull contains trace amounts of cocaine. How’s that for scary.

jarvis

June 1st, 2011
10:29 am

MJG, unfortnately I don’t have much in the way of advice. I took Advil all of the way through school to deal with them. Mine seemed to be mostly related to test taking, so I don’t get them much anymore. I think it was a combination of eye strain and anxiety. Sorry.

It’s awful. I feel for anyone that gets them in every day life.

catlady

June 1st, 2011
11:03 am

This topic gets a “No, duh” from me.

My failing is Pepsi. I drink starting about noon, till about 8 at night. Never before noon (that is OJ time). I also drink a fair amount of water, with lots of ice (I am an ice chewer–anemic?) No milk, no Koolaide, no tea, absolutely no Gatoraide unless I have the stomach virus; that’s the only time I can stand it or sprite. I shudder just to think about it.

I would never let my kids have sports drinks or energy drinks, but now that they are adults all I can do is caution them. They give the grands water and watered down juice–no soft drinks, tea, or Koolaid stuff, thank goodness! They do keep the sippy cups around with water in them, but that is another battle (sippy cups).

Sk8ing Momma

June 1st, 2011
11:04 am

My children are 9.5yo and 12yo. Both play highly competitive sports, including travel teams. We allow one *low-calorie* sports drink per game. (We never buy the regular versions b/c they have too many calories, IMO.) They take and drink lots of water during games, too. It is water only for 90 minute practices (3-4x/week). Btw, many times we are often out of sports drinks so they only have water to take.

I’d never dream of allowing my children to drink energy drinks. *I* would never drink one so they aren’t even on my radar screen.

motherjanegoose

June 1st, 2011
11:09 am

JJ…did you know anything about this:

http://www.hoax-slayer.com/bacteria-lemon-slices.shtml

makes me wonder about having lemon in my tea…

@ homeschooler…methinks your kids might be buying their own drinks before age 16…do they go to church camps or even a sporting event without you? There are typically vending machines. Mine thought it was the coolest thing to have $$ for the canteen at camp and be able to buy whatever candy and such they wanted, until their money ran out. That started at age 8.

catlady

June 1st, 2011
11:11 am

And coffee is completely out of the question. I don’t even think of it as a drink.

misawa

June 1st, 2011
11:12 am

Our sons get a choice between water and milk. Mostly the older one wants just milk, but if the water sits in front of him long enough and he’s thirsty, he’ll drink it. My mom insists that we need to be giving him juice, even if it’s watered down – he needs the “vitamins” she says. She has turned my niece in to a juice, chocolate milk (only), Sprite, and sweet tea type of girl. I think I’ll pass on the juice… which he hates, by the way. ;)

MomsRule

June 1st, 2011
11:14 am

The children and I drink a lot of water. Sodas are limited but the kids are allowed one per day. I also drink black coffee regularly, no cream or sugar.

I have never had an “energy” drink and have told the kids no when they’ve asked for one. Once in a while they will have a gatorade during sports but most often they ask for water.

Here is an off topic question…how much beer on a daily basis is too much? Anyone?

4WhatIt'sWorth

June 1st, 2011
11:21 am

Pure Water and Max One!

Cinzano

June 1st, 2011
11:24 am

There is nothing wrong with a little caffeine for kids. When mine are a little sluggish on school mornings, I’ve been known to give them 8-10 ounces of Mountain Dew, and it perks them right up. There’s no reason why kids shouldn’t enjoy what they drink, just as adults do. When combined with a good, balanced diet, everything turns out fine.

jarvis

June 1st, 2011
11:29 am

MomsRule, I think the the medical limit to be healthy is up to 2 beers a day if you are drinking daily or no more than 3 in a day if you are not a daily drinker. I have to admit I don’t always adhere to the second part as I’m not a daily drinker but will have more than 3 on occasion.

JJ

June 1st, 2011
11:34 am

@Cinzano – Sure it perks them right up, but what happens when they crash, and come down from that caffeine high? I do not believe in giving kids caffeine at a young age. There’s plenty of time for that when they are adults. If they need to be perked up, make them go outside and run around the block.

motherjanegoose

June 1st, 2011
11:40 am

Momsrule…black coffee here too. My kids laugh at me since I love coffee so much but do not drink it at Starbuck’s… what they drink is considered DESSERT to me :).

A

June 1st, 2011
11:44 am

My 8 1/2 year old has survived quite well on primarily water and milk with the occasional juice thrown in. He’ll get a sports drink after a game, but it’s usually when another family is supplying snacks and drinks. @Cinzano, I hope you’re kidding about giving your kids Mountain Dew in the morning. That stuff has more caffeine than Coke, which is why so many of us lived on it during our college years!

motherjanegoose

June 1st, 2011
11:51 am

@ A…I have seen elementary kids head to the morning bus stop with a Coke and Cheezits.
NOT my kids. Son loves Mountain Dew and drinks the diet version. I cannot stand it!

MomsRule

June 1st, 2011
11:53 am

@MJG – We do hit Starbucks here and there as a treat…but I still get my black coffee. :) I agree with you that most of those drinks are desserts!

MomsRule

June 1st, 2011
11:54 am

@Jarvis, So a daily 12 pack is probably an issue…..

JJ

June 1st, 2011
11:54 am

One of the guys I work with lives on Cheezits and Pepsi. All day, every day…..

MomsRule

June 1st, 2011
11:55 am

Coke and cheezits to start the day. Good grief.

Jacksmum

June 1st, 2011
12:02 pm

I am beginning to think I am a lucky mom! My 8 year old drinks OJ, milk and water. He hates the feel of soft drinks – the bubbles. Occasionally he will drink a part of a sports drink, but the extreme flavors, compared to natural drinks seem to keep him to less than 1/2 of a small bottle. I never let him have anything but milk and water when he was little, and that seems to be what he developed a taste for as a bigger kid. Dad is a soft drink junkie, so I would imagine this may become an issue once he hits 12 or 13…maybe I should work on getting dad off the “juice”. :)

homeschooler

June 1st, 2011
12:12 pm

@ motherjanegoose.. sure they will choose what they want out of a machine. They do that even when I’m around. Or they are still with like-minded adults who would not let them get a monster energy drink. I’m thinking of when they can stop by a QT and get whatevery they want. Like I said, I have no problem with them getting what they want occasionally (as long as it is not an energy drink or something with aspartame) it’s the regular consumtion that I avoid.
@Cinzano…There is nothing good about teaching your children to drink something that will perk them up to get them going. I don’t care if my kids have a little caffeine but, in the MORNING?! Around, 11:00 they are going to come off all that sugar and caffeine and crash. They will be useless and then searching for sugar and caffeine at lunch. Sugar and caffeine are both highly addictive. Please don’t do this.

Why are Americans so Fat?

June 1st, 2011
12:19 pm

If you want to know why Americans are getting so much fatter, watch this lecture on Youtube. And yes, the culprit is in fruit juice, sports drinks, sodas and even infant formula.

“Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, explores the damage caused by sugary foods. He argues that fructose (too much) and fiber (not enough) appear to be cornerstones of the obesity epidemic through their effects on insulin.”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

bessbear

June 1st, 2011
12:26 pm

We made a rule – no sodas or sugary drinks at home (unless we are having a party). When we eat out (not usually more than 1x/wk) then we allow them a soda. I would prefer they not have any at all, as I really think sugar, and especially high fructose corn syrup, are the main reason for most health problems. And don’t be fooled by those commercials put out by the corn industry – HFCS may be the same number of calories as sugar, but your body process it differently, causing problems in the liver. Also, don’t be fooled by drinks such as Vitamin Water – which contains crystalline fructose. It is the fructose, when not attached to any fiber such as whole fruits, that is the problem with HFCS and cane sugar (HFCS having a higher amount of fructose). By allowing the kids to have soda out on occasion, it is teaching them that it should not be part of their regular diet.

bessbear

June 1st, 2011
12:27 pm

Why are Americans So Fat – has it right. The video “sugar, the bitter truth”, while a bit long to watch, is so right. It’s worth watching. If you think you don’t have time to watch, think about how much time you’ve spent reading diet books, or going to Weight Watchers meetings. It has changed my eating habits forever.