Many Americans today might claim that they need their caffeinated beverage of choice to simply get through the day. With work, kids, appointments, and chores, many adults have adapted the proper amount of caffeine into their schedule to help them meet increasing responsibilities throughout the day.
However, what happens when teens start drinking substantial amounts of caffeine? Are their growing bodies and minds fit to consume caffeine without knowing the full effects of the drug?
Rising Percentage of Teens Drinking Caffeine
There is no doubt that the percentage of teens drinking caffeine these days has increased dramatically in recent years, along with the negative effects. NPR states that in 2006, teens and young adults spent almost $2.3 billion on caffeinated beverages, with the National Coffee Association finding that 31 percent of youth consume coffee in 2007.
Risks to Teens
Furthermore, caffeine has nutritionists very worried about teens eating and drinking habits. Many teens replace meals with coffee, or are oblivious to the high caloric content of their drinks. Caffeine can also cause anxiety and insomnia, but is most dangerous for its highly addictive quality. The Washington Post states that this addictive property may even be more magnified in children, giving them stronger withdrawal symptoms.
The Allure of Energy Drinks
One attractive genre of caffeinated beverages that seems to be targeted especially to teens and young adults is the energy drink. These beverages bring the effects of caffeine to a new level by adding a tremendous amount of sugar to the drink, with the dramatic effect of one Red Bull having the same amount of caffeine as two and a half Mountain Dew sodas.
Knowing the Risks
Though findings are not particularly conclusive as of yet, the risks involved with high caffeine use in teens are frightening. Even more so, the lack of knowledge among teens about the contents of their drinks and the fact that caffeine is an addictive drug can be dangerous.
Teens should be more aware about the risks of caffeine on their health and limit their consumption in their daily life.