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North Adams Chiropractor | North Adams chiropractic care | MA | Sports and Energy Drinks

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Sports and Energy Drinks
 

Child Health Crisis - Sports and Energy Drinks –

Popular Sports and Energy Drinks like All Sport, Propel, G2, Gatoraide, Red Bull, Powerade, Mega-Energy, Full Throttle, Rockstar, AMP…on-and-on-and-on… all seem to be the favorite drinks among young children who are driving the growth of the Sports and Energy Drink industry. Why do you think they (the sports and energy drink producers) make them full of sugar, caffeine and in all those fun/attractive colors?  This is troubling (and should be to you) as it is leading this industry to market them more to a segment of the population they can cause the greatest health damage to. So while the Sports and Energy Drink industry thinks only about profits, you need to know what these drinks are actually doing to your child’s health.   

Remember, these drinks were first developed for high performance athletes, football, soccer, basketball players etc. Adult men and women engaged in high performance sports are pushing their bodies to the highest limits and need to maintain performance for their sports extreme demands. These drinks do not magically make them, or your child, a better athlete. And while many high profile athletes promote these drinks, few of them actually drink them (reason - too much sugar). NO CHILD in their developmental years works out so hard that they need these drinks either. They are but a fad, hyped (by tens of millions of advertising dollars) to push these sugary drinks on your child (for profit). Children up to age 16 need nothing more than water to stay hydrated when playing sports like gymnastics, soccer, baseball, track etc.  In fact, by allowing or encouraging them to drink these sports drinks you may be causing them lifelong damage to their developing bodies and brains.

 

CAFFEINE

Although these products provide the temporary energy rush as claimed, they also contain a substantial amount of caffeine, sugar and other ingredients. Despite their extreme-sport, adrenaline-pumping, heavy-metal reputation, energy drinks typically contain 1-to-3 times the caffeine per ounce than your average cup of coffee.

But while most teenagers don’t go around swilling two or three 24-ounce triple-espresso lattes per day, they do tend to drink several of these sports/energy drinks per day.

Because caffeine's effects are dependent on body weight, the caffeine in these drinks pack a more powerful punch for children. It is troubling that the favorite beverages among American youth (supplied by their parents on most cases) are these high in caffeine and sugar drinks, instead of calcium and vitamin C which they all need for proper growth and development.

This amount of caffeine in children can sometimes lead to serious side effects such as, an increased or irregular heartbeat, agitation, irritability, seizures, and sleep problems potentially leading to the development of long-term anxiety issues including a possible connection to ADHD.

SUGAR

These sugar filled sports drinks, like soda, are a significant cause of youth diabetes and obesity. Many children, and young adults, are guzzling two-three-and-four of these sports drinks a day and it’s just insane the issues this causes their developing bodies and minds.

In addition to high levels of caffeine, these sports drinks contain high amounts of sugar (sugar, high fructose corn syrup, beet sugar… it’s all just sugar). It’s what makes them taste good to kids, gives them a rush and it’s put in by the manufacturer to addict people. Here’s what happens to those sugars. The sugar raises “blood sugar levels” and stimulates the release of insulin. Insulin lowers the blood sugar by telling the body to store glucose for future use. The body creates glycogen, strings of glucose molecules, and stores it in the muscles and liver. The problem comes when excess sugars are consumed. Once the liver and muscles have stored as much glycogen as possible (about the amount of two candy bars a day), the body creates another storage form, FAT. Insulin then tells your body not only to store new fat, but also not to release any previously stored fat to be burned as energy for the body. This cycle continues to build fat in the body.

Here is what happens with the process above: Obesity/weight gain is often the first sign that insulin levels are rising. The cells no longer respond well to insulin, so more and more must be produced to force blood sugar into cells for energy production. Insulin forces glucose, fat and protein into storage as fat. Diabetes (This mainly applies to type II diabetes) Even after insulin levels have started to rise, the blood sugar usually stays in the normal range. But as the person continues to live on a high starch and sugar diet, the insulin receptors on the cells are further damaged and eventually the pancreas can no longer make enough insulin to meet the increasing need. This result is diabetes.

IRREVERSIBLE TOOTH DECAY

If the health issues above aren’t enough, let’s add tooth decay to the long-term health issues caused by these Energy and Sports drinks.  In a recent study published in the May/June 2012 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, found that an alarming increase in the consumption of sports and energy drinks, especially among adolescents, is causing irreversible damage to teeth, specifically, the high acidity levels in the drinks erode tooth enamel, the glossy protective outer layer of the tooth. The researchers found that damage to enamel was evident after only five days of exposure to sports or energy drinks, although energy drinks showed a significantly greater potential to damage teeth than sports drinks. Damage caused by consumption of these drinks to tooth enamel is irreversible, and without the protection of enamel, teeth become overly sensitive, prone to cavities, and more likely to decay.

The bottom line is that you want the best for your child and want their developing years to lead them to a successful adulthood. Providing them with soda and these sports drinks as a part of their daily and weekly diet are not the best choices for their little bodies. As an educated adult you understand the significance of the developmental issues mentioned above. You may have even seen some of these in your own child or that of a friend.  

 

SOLUTION

When it comes to the drinks you allow your children, give them the one their body really needs for good health – WATER.  (At least ½ their body weight in ounces per day).

 
 
 
North Adams Chiropractor | Sports and Energy Drinks. Dr. Francine Lajoie is a North Adams Chiropractor.