Sports and Energy Drinks are Not for Kids

Sugar filled drinks can lead to obesity

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Sports and energy drinks are increasingly popular and widely available. They're even marketed to children. Sure, they're tasty and may improve performance, but are they good for children?

A new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics says drinking sports and energy drinks on a regular basis can lead to dental erosion, being overweight and obesity in children and adolescents. Parents should be aware of the differences between the various sport and energy drinks and understand when it's appropriate to give those types of drinks to children.

"Children should drink water to rehydrate rather than sport and energy drinks."

The American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition (CON) and Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness (COSMF) reviewed literature between 2000 and 2009 to determine the effects sport and energy drinks have had on children and adolescents. They found children and adolescents who regularly drink sport and energy drinks are increasing their calorie intake without nutritional value, which can lead to being overweight and obesity.

Drinking sport and energy drinks instead of water can also cause dental erosion. One study found that 57 percent of 11 - 14 year olds had enamel erosion caused by drinking these types of beverages.

It's important for parents to understand the differences between sports and energy drinks, and when it may be appropriate for their children to drink them.

Sport drinks contain carbohydrates (sugar), minerals, electrolytes and flavoring which are supposed to replenish the body during exercise. They are safe to drink after intense athletic activities.

Energy drinks contain the same and some type of stimulant, usually in the form of varied amounts of caffeine. The stimulant is supposed to boost performance and decrease fatigue in adults - not children.

Caffeine is a powerful stimulant and should not be taken lightly. It's absorbed by all tissues in the body and can lead to arrhythmias (irregular heart beat), toxicity and addiction.

So, sports drinks are okay for children and teens after intense athletic activities, but energy drinks should be avoided altogether.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 2, 2011
Last Updated:
June 5, 2011