Ask Dr. Swanson: Energy and sports drinks

Energy drinks and sports drinks may seem like a healthy alternative to juice and soda, but doctors are warning parents to avoid them.

Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson shares tips for parents about choosing sports drinks and why water may be the better choice for your child. 

Sports Drinks vs Energy Drinks for Children and Teens
• Adolescents are often unaware of the differences between the two
• Sports drinks contain carbohydrates, minerals, electrolytes and flavoring intended to replace water and electrolytes lost through sweating during prolonged exercise
• Energy drinks contain stimulants such as caffeine, guarana and taurine
                        
Health Concerns
• Obesity and tooth decay
• Heart and neurologic effects from caffeine
• Caffeine toxicity
• Alcohol poisoning from mixing energy drinks and alcohol – masks depressant effects of alcohol

Parents: Water is always best
• Plain water is best for most children engaging in routine physical activity
• Sports drinks are not typically necessary for young athletes
• Drink water not sports drinks with meals even after vigorous physical activities
• Pediatricians recommend absolutely no energy drinks for children and teens

Resources:
• 2011 AAP Report – Clinical Report–Sports Drinks and Energy Drinks for Children and Adolescents: Are They Appropriate?
• Healthy Children – Kids Should Not Consume Energy Drinks, and Rarely Need Sports Drinks, Says AAP
• Seattle Mama Doc blog – What You Should Know About Energy Drinks

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