A new position paper by the American Academy of Pediatrics warns about the dangers of energy drinks and urges kids and teens to avoid them.
To formulate these recommendations, published in the June issue of Pediatrics, researchers reviewed earlier studies and reports on energy drinks.
The report states that kids may be more vulnerable to the contents of energy drinks that adults and can react badly to the caffeine, vitamins and herbal extracts that they often contain.
The report reviewed ingredients in energy drinks and concluded they are not appropriate for children and adolescents and should be avoided. Some products have more than 100 milligrams of caffeine, the report says. (Children, aged 10 to 12, should consume no more than 85 milligrams of caffeine per day; kids aged 7 to 9 should consume at most 62 milligrams daily.)
Energy drinks have stimulants and should not be confused with sport drinks. Side effects from too much caffeine can include increase in heart rate, blood pressure, speech, anxiety levels and lead to insomnia.
The position paper comes just months after the same journal published a review of studies on energy drinks and reported cases of seizures, delusions, heart problems and kidney or liver damage in people who had consumed one or more energy drinks.
While the review acknowledged that such cases are very rare, and can't be conclusively linked to the drinks, they urged caution, especially in kids with medical conditions.
Health Canada warns that excessive consumption of energy drinks or mixing them with alcohol can have serious health effects.
To reduce the risk of potential harmful side effects from energy drinks, Health Canada advises people to consume them in moderation, not to consume them on an empty stomach, not to mix them with alcohol, and to drink water, rather than energy drinks, to rehydrate your body after physical activity.
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