Americans down more than 5 billion energy drinks a year. There are hundreds of so-called energy drinks now tempting us, and our kids with the lure of instant 100% legal over the counter jolt of energy.   Its called a “buzz in a bottle” and is the high-dose, sugary, caffeine drinks that supercharge us.  They have double or even triple the amount of caffeine in a traditional soda. The gourmet coffee concoctions are so loaded with sugar and calories they could be a candy bar in a cup.  But what are the dangers of these energy drinks?

Kids as young as middle-schoolers are getting hooked on these high sugar, high caffeine drinks and it can have serious consequences on growing bodies.  Young people are suffering from dizziness and fainting caused by dehydration because they drink nothing but caffeinated beverages all day.

You can OD on caffeine and the after-effects can be scary.  At high doses, the stimulant can cause a racing heart rate, heart palpitations, and even seizures.  Serious dehydration from caffeine poisoning sends many to the emergency room.

Everybody is looking for that extra pick me up, from students who drink them to stay awake studying to teens who want to stay up all night playing video games.  Kids are posting themselves slamming energy drinks in one gulp and having contests on who can drink the most the fastest.  The emergency room visits are increasing in caffeine overdoses.  And if you cant drink it you can swallow it in a pill like vivarin or no doz.  The most extreme overdoses can be fatal.  Extreme amounts of caffeine can cause a heart attack.  Caffeine poisoning isn’t the only condition concerning doctors.  Drinking these sugary, caffeinated drinks are simply empty calories.  A single Frappuccino has 510 calories and 59 grams of sugar into a 16oz cup.

Not only are we overdosing on the calories but the caffeine prevents us from getting the minimum 7-8 hours of sleep required.  Many use caffeine to keep going snd the loss of sleep eventually takes its toll. Sleep is when our body heals and our immune system rebuilds itself to protects us from illness and disease.  Both quality and the amount of sleep we get is crucial to optimum health.

While one cup of coffee may make you feel focused temporarily, downing several energy drinks or coffee can have the opposite effect and your ability to concentrate can actually be diminished. You are so hypervigilant you cant process the information that comes to you.

Most adults can drink 300 milligrams of caffeine day – that’s several cups of strong coffee – without unpleasant side effects, the stimulant is harder on kids. Plus most energy drinks contain ingredients like taurine and guarana, that accelerate the caffeine effects.  Signs of an overdose in a child or teen is nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, shaking, nausea, or diarrhea.  Over caffeinated kids may also have symptoms of ADHD.

So what are reasonable amounts of caffeine for kids and teens?  The answer is “none”.  Consuming more than 100 milligrams a day is linked to high blood pressure in teens.  With kids’ blood pressure on the rise, the last thing they need is an energy boost.  If they eat well and get enough sleep, they should naturally have more than enough energy.

Caffeine acts as a central nervous system stimulant and increases the cortisol levels similar to those experienced during acute stress. Drinking coffee, in other words, recreates the body’s physical stress conditions. Caffeine consumption during chronic stress increases negative hormones, cortisol, and blood pressure, all of which affect our immune system, making us sicker. The immune system connects to every other system of the body.

Foods and drinks that contain high caffeine include dark chocolate, coated coffee beans, coffee liqueur, and dark chocolate.


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