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May 30th, 2011
11:34 AM ET

Pediatricians: no energy drinks for kids; greatly limit use of sports drinks

Most children and adolescents do not need sports drinks according to a clinical report published in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The report also finds that energy drinks are never appropriate for children or teenagers– water should be the primary beverage choice.

"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, a member of the AAP Committee on Nutrition and 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,” she said. “This means they are ingesting large amounts of caffeine and other stimulants, which can be dangerous.”

Sports drinks often suggest optimization of athletic performance, as well as replacement of fluid and electrolytes lost from exercise. They often contain carbohydrates, vitamins and electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium.

Energy drinks suggest enhanced concentration and mental alertness. Aside from caffeine, these often contain stimulants like guarana, ginseng, taurine, with varying amounts of carbohydrates, vitamins, proteins and amino acids.

Researchers have linked energy drinks to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure as well as some sleep disturbances and anxiety.

"In many cases, it's hard to tell how much caffeine is in a product by looking at the label," Schneider said. "Some cans or bottles of energy drinks can have more than 500 mg of caffeine, which is the equivalent of 14 cans of soda."

The report says that young athletes who participate in vigorous exercise or who are involved in exercise for a prolonged period of time can benefit from the use of sports drinks.

Everyone else, the authors say, should obtain the vitamins and minerals through a well-balanced diet.

"For most children engaging in routine physical activity, plain water is best," Dr. Holly Benjamin, from the AAP Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness, and co-author of the report, said.

"Sports drinks contain extra calories that children don't need, and could contribute to obesity and tooth decay,” she said. “It's better for children to drink water during and after exercise, and to have the recommended intake of juice and low-fat milk with meals. Sports drinks are not recommended as beverages to have with meals.”

A 2007 report by the Institute of Medicine recommended schools limit sugars in food and drinks, restrict sports drinks to use by athletes only during prolonged, vigorous sports activities, prohibit energy drink use, restrict carbonated, fortified or flavored waters and have water available at no cost in schools.

The authors advise pediatricians to discuss sports and energy drinks with patients and their parents.


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soundoff (161 Responses)
  1. bagofboards

    There are a couple of comments on here decrying the fact that 'parents don't stand a chance' against the targeted marketing. I've skateboarded for 40 years, and all of my kids (3) skate. They've seen the marketing at every major event we attend and the skaters we watch wearing their emblazoned sports drink clothing. My kids don't drink energy drinks at all, since they've been taught by me that they are being lied to by the companies trying to get their business, and that in no way will these substances improve their performance. Hell, coke cost about a $1, right? and the energy crap they peddle cost's $2 to three dollars. So it stands to reason they are just trying to maximize their profit by creating and cornering their own little market. The drinks can't cost anymore to produce than the soda they make, but they charge between 200 to 300 percent more. Since we skate sometimes 4 to 6 hours straight they may have a gatorade, but for the most part they always ask for water and fruit. If your kid makes poor nutrition decisions it's due to the fact that you haven't done your job as a parent to inform them. Potato people make more potato people.

    May 30, 2011 at 20:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Gianni

      399You never answered the most ntropmait questions: Did you actually throw that can back at him? And how did he react? LOLThanks for this article. I tried Red Bull once took one sip and just didn't get the attraction to it. I've never had it since. Combining the lack of flavor with the number of those stupid little cans I see littering up the side of the roads and the penchant people have for wanting to be wide awake drunk via Red Bull mixers, I'm actually a little repulsed by it now. A former coffee junkie, I now have a set amount of coffee that I drink each day for enjoyment, and only before noon. After that it's water. I guess I've gone coffee-moderate in my wiser age. Pre-race, I can have about 2 sips of coffee along with a power bar and that's it otherwise I have too many stops to make on the route.fa

      March 5, 2012 at 22:32 | Report abuse |
  2. chuck

    No energy drinks for kids? Are you kiddin' me that it took a "Dr" to come up with a common sense comment most normal people already know???? Next a "Dr" will tell us to turn up the heat in winter so we don't get cold and/or frostbitten, or to maybe chew our food before we swallow. I can't believe this lame article even got posted

    May 30, 2011 at 20:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Taylor

    Just wait, soon you'll have to be 21 to buy a Gatorade or Red bull, or maybe they should just make them change the formula like they did to Four Loko. Thank goodness I have my government to babysit me.

    May 30, 2011 at 20:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • pazke

      This article is about education parents, not making anything illegal. There are lots of parents that don't realize how much sugar and caffiene are in those drinks.

      May 30, 2011 at 21:12 | Report abuse |
    • DNAbro

      If something is not good for children, it's not good for children. This is not an issue of politics.

      May 30, 2011 at 21:21 | Report abuse |
    • Hollywood Town Hall

      Actually it has nothing to do with the government. This is a recommendation/position of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a non-government body. What you are whining about basically is, that doctors who have devoted their careers have looked into something and found that it is unhealthy for children, and they have released a statement to that effect. And you resent it. You'd really rather not know what is healthy and unhealthy. Perhaps the reason for this is that you are stupid and arrogant.

      May 30, 2011 at 22:17 | Report abuse |
    • Susan Tamborello-Toman

      The following facts from SAMHSA are enough to suggest that energy drinks be regulated. Big and I mean HUGE MONEY will try to control this issue. The chemicals in these drinks ARE DANGEROUS to youth! Come on when Pediatricians step up and
      warn us that the industries are marketing poison to our children are we not going to listen! It is my rights as an American to
      have the pursuit happiness, when our government doesn't regulate what could potentially make my children ill, that right is
      being infringed upon. I am sadden to see so many parents who cannot see that is what is needed. I am sure though left to their own devices so many people would be still smoking in Movie Theaters. Sometimes people need guidance, and I believe that is my governments job! In 2009, 2.9 million youth (12.0 percent) received treatment or counseling for problems with emotions or behavior in a specialty mental health setting (inpatient or outpatient care). The most likely reason for receiving services was feeling depressed (46.0 percent), followed by having problems with home or family (27.8 percent), breaking rules and “acting out” (26.1 percent), and thinking about or attempting suicide (20.7 percent). The chemicals in these drinks
      exasperate all of these issues, while children who were potentially having mental health issue, but may not have within healthy settings can be triggered. Children with undiagnosed heart issues, have died! Wake Up I know it's early but, lets take care of this now!

      May 31, 2011 at 07:57 | Report abuse |
    • jay

      No, Hollywood, you miss the point. This goes far beyond making healthy recommendations, they are actually pushing for regulation, for schools to 'ban' students consumption of a wide range of drinks. This is the problem: rather than let people (parents and children) make their own choices their knee jerk reaction is authoritarian coercion. "You WILL drink what we tell you because we know what's good for you"

      It's time to stop the continual encroachment of government and schools over private decision.

      June 2, 2011 at 08:30 | Report abuse |
  4. Mike

    Don't let your kids drink stuff full of caffeine and sugar. Duh. If you know what's good for YOU.

    May 30, 2011 at 21:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Mary

    Why do kids need energy drinks when most of them sit on their whale butts without moving for hours playing video games every day. I could understand it if they were actually being useful to their families by doing chores or helping to take care of their younger brothers and sisters.

    May 30, 2011 at 21:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michaela Renee

      Hehehe, whale butts XD

      That aside, yeah, a 14 year old knows how to read a nutrition label. When I was a kid I wasn't allowed soda or crap like that. My mom only let me drink water and 100% juice...

      May 31, 2011 at 13:57 | Report abuse |
    • Random

      So your saying a three sport athleete is lazy all day. I do track,baseball,swimming,and have time to havea social life and play video games.YOur calling me lazy? What do you do all day sit at a desk and chug coffe and look at a screen all day?

      May 31, 2011 at 15:28 | Report abuse |
    • Random

      Dont lump all teenagers into the same group.

      May 31, 2011 at 15:29 | Report abuse |
    • Joe public

      Of course, there is nothing stopping teens from buying these on the way to or from school, which is when they would most likely want them.

      June 2, 2011 at 10:15 | Report abuse |
  6. 4kgurpreet@hotmail.com

    Check this out. I don tknow about gatorade.

    May 30, 2011 at 21:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Confused

    What are these drinks? Is it Gatorade, Powerade, Red Bull, Vitamin Water, etc? All of these? Some of these? None of them are any good for anything? If you dilute them can they actually do some good, or are they useless in their entirety?

    May 30, 2011 at 22:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DeLia CA

      Read the labels and understand what the ingredients are. As the article said, ingredients like guarana, taurine and ginseng might sound exotic and healthy but they are stimulants just like sugar and caffeine. How many ways can you say sugar? high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, sucrose, etc? They are all sugars and all stimulants. Watering drinks down may mean that you'll get less of these per volume, but these ingredients are still there

      May 31, 2011 at 11:25 | Report abuse |
  8. z

    I would be far more concerned about adhd meds. I do agree kids should not be drinking energy drinks or soft drinks with a lot of stimulants. As a 35 year old i like to drink energy drinks on occasion and have had no problems with them.

    May 30, 2011 at 22:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. panamon

    I'm failing to find anything in the article which goes along with the sensationalized headline and tweet. Quite poor journalism.

    May 30, 2011 at 22:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Dwayne Wimmer

    Great information, I will be passing this on to my clients and staff.

    Thanks,

    Dwayne Wimmer

    May 30, 2011 at 22:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. dee

    I think that it is absolutely AWESOME that the movie "Idiocracy" is becoming more of a reality on daily basis!!!

    If you haven't seen it... PLEASE RENT IMMEDIATELY... the fact that some of the main characters have names like "Frito," "BMW" and "Mountain Dew" is only a glimpse of its quality. The idea that some of its plot lines are coming true is as much genius as it is sad.

    By the way, if you don't think it's downright hilarious it most likely due to the fact its making fun of you!!! :)

    May 30, 2011 at 23:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Team Mom

    As a responsible parent, I know that letting my 12 year old drink caffeine-loaded crap is not healthy, so I don't. But Gatorade? When my child is training for two hours a day be it swimming or football, bikes 6 miles every single weekday, water just doesn't cut it. He eats clean and healthy but when it comes time to hydrate, that Gatorade does what water can't. If the intent is to raise awareness, then by all means, educate, but for me and mine, we're sticking with what works.

    May 31, 2011 at 02:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sir1geto

      That reporter isn't talking about a kid like your' s the article is referring to a kid who probably does a 30 minutes or so of not too rigorous exercise every day. He would tell your kid not to drink Gatorade, working out that much requires a lot of nutrients.

      May 31, 2011 at 14:09 | Report abuse |
    • HFC

      Gaterade & all sports drinks have high fructose corn syrup, which is metabolized in the body much differently than regular sugar. Sugar is bad. High fructose corn syrup and regular corn syrup are even worse. Read up on it – you would never let your kids drink it. Most pro athletes who understand nutrition never touch the stuff.

      May 31, 2011 at 17:48 | Report abuse |
    • seamoney

      I smell a Gatorade sales rep in Mom's clothing.

      May 31, 2011 at 22:14 | Report abuse |
    • oxygenmomma

      when one does vigorous exercise one sweats not just fluid but salt. Gatorade replaces the salt. It has less to do with teh sugar and more to do with the salt that needs to be put back into the body. Great way to kill kids doing rigorous exercise like football practice or basketball practice is by just having them drink water. Same with hiking, swimming (athletic wise, not just for play) ect.

      ever go to the grand canyon? big signs up that say...do not hike the grand canyon with just water of you will die. You must bring something with salt in it.

      completely okay with the nonsense of energy drinks for youth...but they should of been more careful and thought better about sports drinks. During many sports events, and even when one has something like stomach flu...sports drinks are a much better alternative to water.

      July 8, 2011 at 23:52 | Report abuse |
    • Santiago

      You are a pay-it-forward, inspirational, piivtiosty oozing, good vibes to the universe, incredibly talented, amazing bundle of gusto. so glad I have come accrosss your work (it's been SO educational and inspiring and encouraging) and YOU'. Not a lot of pros actually respond to questions much less offer tips and encouragement, in photography, much less LIFE stuff. I wish you all the happiness and success in the world! You are making a difference in the lives of others: BELIEVE it, OWN it, ROCK it!! *tear* making myself weepy here lol. Happy Wedding Day soon!! jenn:)

      December 19, 2012 at 02:05 | Report abuse |
  13. Shivam

    Is this article also talking about Whey shakes post workout? It don't contain caffaine and that much sugar. I don't drink energy drinks, I just drink whey after lifting weights (not after cardio or in meals). Is it still harmful?

    May 31, 2011 at 06:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jonnysource

      Whey protein shakes after a nice course of heavy lifting is PERFECT! (well you'd wanna throw in a good meal about 90 minutes afterwaords as well) Just make sure you're getting the right kind of shake for the results that you want.

      May 31, 2011 at 17:19 | Report abuse |
  14. Terry

    It is easy to say the parents should be responsible and I do agree with that but!!!!!!!!!!
    I have a 7 year old daughter that goes to school and came home with an energy drink that is in a vending machine at her school. I sent in money for pizza day and she came home with one . I think they should be banned from schools all together. I have no problem saying no when she asks for them but she isn't always with me.

    May 31, 2011 at 07:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Dr Bill Toth

    Finally a post that backs up common sense and recommends water. Live With Intention, DrBillToth.com/blog

    May 31, 2011 at 07:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Skunkwerks

      Finally a post that shamelessly advertises Dr. Bill Toth's Blog. Because putting "Dr." before your name on the internet (and to a lesser extent, TV) makes you a trustworthy authority on a wide variety of subjects you should prolly consult real doctors for. Not to mention the profits from becoming a bestselling author on the side.

      May 31, 2011 at 09:55 | Report abuse |
  16. Heidi

    I know everyone is different, but why should a child or Teen need an Energy drink. I had all the energy in the world until I turned 41? My daughters friend drinks them, her grandm buys them for her. I asked her why and she stated that she needed Energy. WHY????? you are 13????

    May 31, 2011 at 08:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. denny from INDIANA

    I believe kids these days are over stimulated with drugs,technology,games,movies and energy drinks! Give them what are Parents gave us in the "Old Days" a drink from the hose or the old standby Kool-Aid!

    May 31, 2011 at 08:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Ernest Dickinson

    Even adults should limit energy drink intake, not only are these drinks high in caffeine, they are full of empty calories. Many Americans get as much as 30% of their calories by drinking them, via energy drinks, sports drinks, milk shakes, & sodas. Sports drinks & energy drinks, just like soda are high in acidity, which is hard on your teeth. I quit drinking soda, & I found out that the up and down swing between being tired & alert I would experience throughout the day due to the sugar highs & lows went away. The only time one should drink a sports drink is, when one is engaged in physical activities like sports, and one needs to replenish electrolytes. Likewise, energy drinks should only be taken occasionally, such as you asked to work late and simply need to stay alert. You however should not make them a regular part of your diet, for you will end up on the up at night, tired in the morning, yo yo. The acidity in energy drinks can also be hard on your stomach as well, which is another reason they should be used sparingly, and children shouldn't drink them.

    May 31, 2011 at 09:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. TBS

    This is good advice except fo the the milk endorsement, that is unless they are expecting cows to read this. I would recommend milk for baby cows.

    May 31, 2011 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. DeLia CA

    Do pro athletes with energy drink endorsements present "bad" role models for children/adolescents? Does LeBron James metabolize energy drinks the same way a 12 year old does? Even if that 12 year old is in sports and plays hard and perspires a lot, losing fluids/electrolytes??

    May 31, 2011 at 11:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. DeLia CA

    I agree, @Ernest: TONS of empty calories. I was reading the label on Arizona's enery drink. 29 gms of sugar PER SERVING! and there were THREE servings in the can! 90 grams of sugar? And who's not going to drink the whole can (about 12 oz). So you get quick energy from the sugar THEN you get the fallout after the sugar high. I put it back on the shelf

    May 31, 2011 at 11:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Steven

    1st, any parent that gives their kids an energy drink after exercise is dumb!
    2nd, there is nothing wrong with giving your kid Gatorade, if that's the only source of sugar he/she gets other than normal amounts i mean.

    May 31, 2011 at 11:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. jm

    my daughter runs 3 hours a day after school. Very active young lady. She does not even weigh 90 lbs. She drinks gatoraid when she comes home. When school lets out she runs more. She is always on the go you can not get her to sit for more then 30 minutes. She drinks water but I feels she needs the other also. But the bed bull and that no way.maybe every once inawhile she will get a pop.

    June 2, 2011 at 01:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Chua Xiang NIng

    We should not drink energy drinks as it contains chemicals and will harm your body.

    September 1, 2011 at 03:11 | Report abuse | Reply
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    October 13, 2011 at 16:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. FuegoWerSkere

    gadżety reklamowe
    Jaki jest w największym stopniu skuteczny tryb rekomendowania swojej organizacji? W jaki sposób podnieść liczbę klientów i co za tym idzie dochody w swojej jednostce. Odpowiedź jest szczerze, pobieżna. Komunikacja marketingowa. Daje ona zdumiewające korzyści dla naszego interesu. Czyni, iż nasza marka jest rozpoznawalna, ludzie są świadom jej bycia, lub poziom potencjalnych interesantów bezustannie wzrasta. Jest jednakże wiele form reklamy. Promocja telewizyjna, tak zwany migawka reklamowa, przekaz reklamowy w radiu, w gazecie itd. Pożądałbym Ci acz objaśnić równie obrotną reklamę którą jest reklama telewizyjna, to znaczy gadżety reklamowe. Jest w tym miejscu przemówienie o wszelkich przedmiotach użytku powszedniego, jak kubki, długopisy, maskotki, koszulki, na których zdołasz lokować logo własnej firmy. Już sam się przekonaj w jaki sposób to funkcjonuje i pomyśl przez sekundę. Idziesz ulicą w latko i omijają Cię ludzie w eleganckim podkoszulku z logotypem Twojej fabryki. Czyż to nie doskonała i praktycznie gratisowa jakość promocji? Otóż to! Ludziska poprzez stosowanie towarów, których normalnie i tak będą używać, polecają Twoją spółkę, sprawiając, iż inni poczynają się nią frapować. Zapraszamy na naszą stronę, na której odkryjesz całą oferowaną przez nas ofertę i zapoznasz się z naszymi małymi cenami. Zapewniam Cię, iż pozytywy jakie może osiągnąć Twoja firma wielokrotnie przekraczają poniesione wydatki.

    December 15, 2011 at 15:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Sigma2012

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    January 10, 2012 at 16:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rosa

      a LOT these days.I am sorry you had a rough time in Vegas things are rellay overwhelming sometimes and I can honestly say, I GET IT. I am happy for you that you have found a positive way to deal with whatever was troubling you, and am SO glad you are back on Facebook as I love your work.I am starting out, and if I end up with half the talent you have I am happy. It's a passion, a love of it, right? That's where my head is at these days, among other stuff we women try to do it all and keep people happy: so I am glad you have made peace with your truth and your path.Continued success and blessings always,Jenn Lambert(Jenn Lambert Photography on FB)

      September 14, 2012 at 01:24 | Report abuse |
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    hi la, please see prtogram skype recorder . I think, it's ince soft to all skype users.

    January 11, 2012 at 08:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Gisela

    d 36eI don't like reading about plepoe who overdo energy drinks not responsible behavior. I sip energy drinks. I don't gulp them. I don't throw cans over my shoulder. I probably drink less than 2 a month. Usually I eat very healthy and get enough sleep but there are times when life gets in the way and an energy drink helps me get through it. What I also don't like is plepoe who see me drinking an energy drink and start talking down to me. Most plepoe have to make trade-offs in life. This is a pretty harmless one. And, yes, I have had an energy drink before a run. It didn't help me run faster and I didn't crash. It did wake me up so I didn't start the race half asleep. Coffee, stretching, pre-race walks just were not working. I'll continue to drink them responsibly.fa

    March 4, 2012 at 07:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. swimtastic

    Reblogged this on swimtastic and commented:
    Even young athletes should limit their intake of sports drinks. During practice, they are fine, but they are not really needed any other time of the day. 46% of the excess calories that Americans consume come from non-alchoholic drinks.

    June 5, 2012 at 04:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Nora Moles

    food and drinks that are healthy are on the top of my lists. ;

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    December 16, 2012 at 22:35 | Report abuse | Reply
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