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Energy Drinks


There has been an explosion of energy drinks, with rebellious sounding names, targeted to young people. Their advertising claims they can increase attention, performance and reaction time, but are they helpful - or even safe - for children? These drinks get their “energy” from large doses of caffeine and sugar. Most have a caffeine equivalent of three cups of coffee and as much as 14 teaspoons of sugar. They also contain other ingredients. Guarana is another form of caffeine, while taurine supposedly enhances performance. But neither of these herbs has been tested in children and no one can ensure they are safe. One thing is certain, these drinks have side effects, including irregular heartbeats and blood pressure changes, neither of which is good for teen athletes. So next time your teen wants to gain an edge, remind him that hard work and practice provide the best results and those don’t come in an energy drink.  


​The above script is part of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) radio series 'A Minute for Kids,' which airs weekdays on WBBM-AM in Chicago, IL.
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