Waushara County Health News By Waushara County Health Department

Use of energy and sports drinks in teenagers

You might think energy and sports drinks do it all: more energy, improved performance, better con-centration. But do they? And what’s the difference between energy drinks and sports drinks? The main ingredient in energy drinks is caffeine. They are consumed to provide an extra boost in energy. A single energy drink can contain as much as 500mg of caffeine. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that Adolescents aged 12-18 years should not exceed 100mg of caffeine a day. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that teens not use energy drinks.  The best way for teens to improve energy is through a balanced diet and getting enough sleep on a regular basis (8-10 hours per night). Large doses of caffeine can lead to dehydration, heart complications (irregular heartbeat and heart failure), anxiety, and sleep problems. People use sports drinks to replace water and electrolytes lost through sweating after activity. Electrolytes are minerals, such as potassium, calcium, sodium, and magnesium that keep the body’s balance of fluids at the proper level. Sports drinks can also restore carbohydrates that the body uses for energy during activity. Water is the best choice before, during and after physical activity. Sports drinks contain sugars, which mean added calories. So if you’re not exercising long or hard, sports drinks could lead to weight gain. A balanced diet can give teens the carbohydrate and electrolytes they need. Sports drinks should only be consumed if continually exercising for long periods of time or in hot climates.