these wings have warnings
Keep these cans away from kids: Energy drinks contain more harmful caffeine,sugar and chemicals than you think
From school playing fields to major league clubhouses, caffeinated energy drinks such as Red Bull and its scores of imposters have become a familiar presence in sports, and it may be endangering the lives of our children.
Every year many parents across America suffer the tragic death of their student athletes. Just last spring at a UIL basketball tournament in Austin, a 15-year old basketball player collapsed on the court and later died at Brackenridge Hospital. Many of these deaths are the result of heat stroke or an undiagnosed medical condition, like an abnormal heart rhythm. But parents: did you know that over-consumption of caffeine-supplemented energy drinks may increase your child's risk of a serious medical event, even death, whether or not they’re student athletes?
Kids believe it’s cool to drink them; they see famous athletes endorsing the rainbow-colored treats, and a major league soccer team is even named after one, so they must be good for you — right? Energy drink manufacturers have milked this for all it’s worth, advertising its products directly to children.
Many children, including young athletes, are reaching for Red Bull instead of sport drinks, which — unlike the energy fuel — are mostly water with a nominal amount of sugar and electrolytes. A 16-ounce can of an energy drink, on the other hand, may contain 13 teaspoons of sugar and the amount of caffeine found in four or more colas. Plus, these drinks are not regulated because they’re considered dietary supplements. Even a 12-year old can buy them at the grocery store — no questions asked. Heck, I’ve even seen parents giving their children these drinks at athletic events.
Well, guess what, the over-consumption of these super-caffeinated energy drinks results in thousands of emergency room visits every year, and they just may play a role in the sudden deaths of young athletes, especially those who are not well-hydrated or who have an unrecognized pre-existing condition.
According to the National Federation of State High School Associations:
Caffeinated energy drinks should not be consumed before, during or after physical activity because they could raise the risk of dehydration and increase the chance of potentially fatal heat illnesses. The organization also warned of possible interactions with prescription medications — including stimulants used to treat ADHD, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
In Orange County, California, at least four high school football players were taken to the emergency room last season with persistent tachycardia, or rapid heartbeats. All four had consumed super-caffeinated drinks.
The sweet substances are banned in many sports competitions, but not necessarily for health reasons — because caffeine is known to improve muscle action and performance, especially in endurance activities. If that doesn’t convince you, what if I told you the NCAA bans them? Why would you allow your student athlete to consume these drinks when it could cause them to be disqualified in a competition?
In June, a clinical report in the journal Pediatricswarned that, "stimulant-containing energy drinks have no place in the diets of children or adolescents."
Additionally, a recent report from Environmental Health News noted that "Mountain Dew, along with 10 percent of sodas in the US, contains brominated vegetable oil (BVO), a flame retardant chemical banned in Europe and Japan." Add stimulants to the sugary mix, and you're taking in even more scary, unknown chemicals that likely weren't created for consumption.
Parents, do I have your attention? In moderation, these drinks are okay for adults, but not for children or adolescents. Please, monitor the amount of caffeine your kids consume — your child’s life could be jeopardized.