It’s easy to see why a youth athlete might think energy drinks are the answer to get them through those long days of school and practice …popular drink brands sponsor exciting and big-time sports events, professional athletes endorse them and the advertisements promise better focus, energy and performance.
But the reality is these beverages can cause serious harm to young athletes’ bodies and minds.
Teaching young athletes the truth behind flashy drink labels and marketing that features high-profile athletes is the first step in keeping energy drinks out of their hands.
Here are five important facts that don’t show up in advertisements that you should share with your athletes:
Many energy drinks have the same amount of caffeine as two cups of coffee or two cans of soda. Other ingredients, like artificial sweeteners, yerba mate, guarana and kola nut can increase an energy drink’s caffeine levels even more.
These ingredients work together to give a sudden, short-term rush of what feels like energy. But what comes shortly after is a sugar crash, raised blood pressure and feeling more fatigued than before. Insomnia is another side effect. Proper rest, nutrition, and hydration are the smarter choices for athletes in need of long-lasting energy.
The Mayo Clinic says says adults can safely handle up to 400 mg of caffeine per day but just 100 mg can cause problems in adolescents and teens. For reference, a single can of Monster has between 140-160 mg of caffeine.
Regular use of energy drinks robs the brain of proper rest and can also cause increased anxiety, nervousness, daily headaches, and seizures. One study of 15 and 16-old year boys even showed a connection between high caffeine levels and violent behavior. Caffeine can be so damaging to the brain that there are four official caffeine-related mental disorders.