Doctors To Kids Cut The Caffeine

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 10:12am

Pediatricians warn that young athletes shouldn't be using highly caffeinated energy drinks.

When athletes sweat they need to replenish water and electrolytes lost during intense games or work-outs, but a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics finds many teens are confused about the best ways to rehydrate and are turning to high-caffeine energy drinks instead of water or even sports drinks like Gatorade.

Pediatricians say the high levels of caffeine and other stimulants found in energy drinks can be addictive and may lead to increased heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety.

"We don't really know what caffeine does in large quantities, we don't know what it does over a period of time to a young developing body," says Dr. Holly Benjamin.

Experts say even sports drinks should be used only in very rare instances, for those high-level athletes who are exercising for more than an hour.

For the vast majority of kids sports drinks simply translate into unnecessary calories and sugar, contributing to obesity and tooth decay.

The American Beverage Association agrees with the new report, saying that while sports drinks have their place on the playing field, energy drinks are not meant for young consumers.

Experts say the best and healthiest way to rehydrate is good old fashioned H2O.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is encouraging all pediatricians to talk to their young patients about their sports and energy drink consumption.

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