Sports and energy drinks and kids

May 30, 2011 3:03:54 PM PDT
For the first time ever, the country's pediatricians are giving parents advice about what their kid should drink what they're out and active. In a report released today, the doctors say they found lot of confusion out there about what the kids should drink.

There are two types of drinks that are being used inappropriately, according to the American Academy of Pediatricians, and many kids and parents think the two are pretty much the same:

Sports drinks and energy drinks.

"A lot of children active in sports are using energy drinks, but energy drinks contain caffeine which they don't need and sugar and other ingredients that aren't healthy for a developing child," Tara Harwood of the Cleveland Clinic said.

Energy drinks include drinks with names like Red Bull, Monster, Full Throttle and Jolt among others.

Because of their ingredients, they can be dangerous for children and adolescents, according to the doctor's report.

They should not be consumed at all by kids and adolescents.

Sports drinks include products like Gatorade, All Sport, and Powerade.

While they can be used by children and adolescents,, the doctors say their use is "only for those engaged in prolonged vigorous sports activity."

If a child is active in sports then they should using a sports drink containing electrolytes, which they're losing through sweat, water and carbohydrates to replace, so they have the energy to go through that activity.

For most kids, they're unnecessary, carrying extra calories and risking dental erosion.

Some of the specific recommendations made by the Academy are:

  • Pediatricians should highlight the difference between sports drinks and energy drinks with patients and their parents and talk about the potential health risks.

  • Energy drinks pose potential health risks because of the stimulants they contain, and should never be consumed by children or adolescents.

  • Routine ingestion of carbohydrate-containing sports drinks by children and adolescent should be avoided or restricted, because they can increase the risk of overweight and obesity, as well as dental erosion.

  • Sports drinks have a limited function for pediatric athletes; they should be ingested when there is a need for rapid replenishment of carbohydrates and/or electrolytes in combination with water during prolonged, vigorous physical activity.

  • Water, not sports drinks, should the principal source of hydration for children and adolescents.

    "Sweetening (water) with some lemon juice or lime juice, or even now they sell some packets of true lemon, true lime, true orange, some different flavoring packets that have no sugar and no artificial sweeteners either so you can add it to the drinks and give it a little bit of flavor," Harwood said.

    So play well, workout well, and drink plenty of water all summer long.