The Buzz on Kids and Energy Drinks: March 21, 2014

Move over soda, the buzz for today’s teen has shifted gears. Over the past decade consumption of energy drinks and sweetened coffee concoctions has doubled. The trend is not exciting doctors.

“It says it has 120 milligrams of caffeine per container. And this is what would be twice as much as found in a soda (this) size,” says Dr. Julia Fashner, family practitioner with Lee Memorial Health System.

It’s the caffeine kids may be craving, but it’s also what has experts concerned.

“The issue really is they have smaller a body size than adults and so the caffeine will have more milligrams in their body system for how much they weigh. And this will have more safety concerns and more negative side effects for those children or adolescence than for any adult,” says Dr. Fashner.

The shift in preference may be a result of the growing perception of soda as being linked to obesity.  While young people may not guzzle them like they would a soda, they may not have to. Some coffee and energy drinks have up to four times the caffeine of an equal amount of soda. Only manufacturers aren’t required to reveal it.

“It’s not branded to soda and it’s not branded as anything in the food industry. So the FDA has no regulatory power over it. And it’s sitting right next to the can of soda, it’s sitting right next to the sports drinks,” says Fashner.

The appeal to kids maybe marketing, flavor or the brief boost they offer- either way, the downside may be a buzz kill.