AAP Warns Against Over-Consumption of Sports Drinks - FamilyEducation

AAP Warns Against Over-Consumption of Sports Drinks

June 09,2011
Lindsay Hutton

If you were to watch an energy drink commercial, you'd be led to believe it's for kids. With their flashy colors, sweet taste, and funky designs, it's no secret that the companies promoting them know exactly who their target audience is.

Same goes for sports drinks. Powerade and Gatorade are mainstays in many kids' diets. You can find them in lunch boxes, refrigerators, and coolers across the country, and are often the drink many kids go to when they are thirsty.

However, a new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics is warning against the consumption of these sugary drinks.

According to the AAP,energy drinks and sports drinks have very little business being in a child's diet. Energy drinks, such as Red Bull and AMP, should be avoided entirely by young children and teens. These drinks are often heavily caffeinated, sometimes containing up to 500 mg of caffeine.

That's the equivalent of 14 cans of regular soda.

Yikes.

With sugar and herbal stimulants often added in as well, these drinks can be a stimulant nightmare, especially for children who are still growing and developing.

All these stimulants can lead to high blood pressure, high heart rate, and insomnia. Not to mention the risk of obesity the sugar poses.

OK, so you might be thinking-- yes. I know this. I would never give my child a Red Bull.

But what about a sports drinks?

Many parents probably wouldn't think twice about handing their child a Powerade or Gatorade in place of a glass of water.

However, the AAP says sports drinks hold a very specific place in a child's diet, and recommends they only be consumed during vigorous exercise. These drinks are designed to replace electrolytes and water that is lost through sweat, not as a drink to have at lunch or for a snack.

Over consumption of these drinks can put a child at risk for weight gain, obesity, and dental erosion.

So what do they recommend?

Water. Plain old, refreshing, hydrating water.

If your child begs for something different, 100% fruit juice or milk is better.

Low-calorie options of sports drinks are better than regular ones, if you are in a pinch and have no other choices.

Bottom line-- energy drinks are a no, for all kids and teens, no matter what. Sports drinks are for just that-- sports. Nothing else.

Do you give your child sports drinks on a regular basis? Are you surprised by this recommendation? Will it make you think twice the next time your child asks for one? Tell us your thoughts!