Teens don’t need sports drinks unless they are playing sports, and shouldn’t consume energy drinks, experts say

Though teens are increasingly consuming sports and energy drinks, the beverages don’t offer them any benefits, a report contends. In fact, teens should only consume sports drinks like Gatorade if they’re actually playing sports and avoid caffeinated energy drinks like Red Bull entirely, reports Alice Park of Time magazine’s Healthland. “Water, not sports drinks, should be the major source of hydration for adolescents,” said Dr. Marcie Schneider said.

The report was compiled by the American Academy of Pediatrics‘ Committee on Nutrition and its Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness. It found many teens consume sports drinks (Getty Images photo) in the school cafeteria, in part because sodas are increasingly being taken out of school vending machines. Sports drinks have extra carbohydrates and electrolytes, which can be beneficial after intense workout sessions. “But outside that setting — and honestly most of our teens and children are way outside that setting — they don’t need sports drinks,” Schneider said. The extra carbs are just extra calories. They also can erode enamel from teeth and cause dental problems.
Energy drinks are similar to sports drinks, but have the added ingredient of caffeine, which kids also don’t need. “We know that caffeine raises heart rate, blood pressure, speech rates and motor activity, and affects how much acid your stomach secretes, your body temperature and how much you sleep or don’t sleep” Schneider said. These drinks can make children who are already anxious have more anxiety and rev up kids with attention deficity hyperactivity disorder even more. “Do these kids really need caffeine as part of their lives? The answer is no.” (Read more)
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