Generation 'Energy Drink'
I was at the service station recently and saw a bunch of kids aged between 12-14 years old buying energy drinks before getting to school at 9:00am. Each one had one can of 500ml in their hands, and some even two. Now, think about this:
Each can contains 15 teaspoons of sugar, and 160mg of caffeine (2 shots of expresso). So multiply that by 2 and you have in total 30 teaspoons of sugar, and 320mg of caffeine per day for each kid.
Do you think that is going to have any side effect on their health?
Yes, of course it will.
Caffeine is perhaps the most addictive substance in today’s world, and millions of people live dependently on it every day. Coffee and teas are popular drinks have been consumed for thousands of years by many different cultures, and small portions of it can have an effect on energy levels, focus, attention, motor skills, pain threshold, mental and physical performance. On the other hand, concentrated caffeinated products such as energy drinks, fat loss products and performance supplements can exceed the safe limit tolerable by most humans, and cause well know side effects such as irritability, confusion, anxiety, restlessness and insomnia.
Excess of caffeine can increase:
Stress hormones like adrenaline, cortisol and insulin levels
Insomnia and restlessness
Risk of chronic diseases like Arthritis, Diabetes, Cardiovascular and Liver disorders.
Caffeine can make a positive affect because is speeds up the central nervous system by stimulating it to produce more adrenaline and nor adrenaline which dictates the rhythm of the other hormone responses. These effects can benefit lack of attention, focus and motor skills.
Caffeine does have a positive effect if consumed in moderation but the question again is, what is the normal limit of caffeine daily?
Anywhere from 15mg to 100mg caffeine a day is considered safe for most of the population, especially if consumed in the natural form, like in green tea, coffee and cacao (chocolate).
As a professional I believe the issue is that not many people are educated to know what is the healthy amount of caffeine to be consumed daily, and which ones is good one or bad one. Generally most people don’t read labels and look to understand fully what it's actually made of the products they buy into it. The challenge is most are trained not to look in the ingredient list. What most people seek is flavour and pleasure, not facts and truth about the products they are consuming, especially kids. My best advice is to keep away from artificial caffeine, and use natural ones if necessary, at least you get the benefits without harm your body. And for kids, the best would be no caffeine, and keep as low as possible.