The dangers of energy drinks

Being as involved in the education sector as we are, the Unistage team get exposed to lots of issues facing teachers and children in schools today. One the most widely discussed issues of late is the consumption of energy drinks provided by parents, drunk in and outside of school hours.

Caffeine-packed energy drinks may seem like a quick fix for getting kids up in the morning and set for school, but they have undesirable after effects.

They’re not only fuelling a rise of bad behaviour in the classroom, they’re also affecting children’s health, setting them up for a whole range of illnesses.

energy drinks 2

Image Credit: Medical Express

Increasing the risk of disease

As energy drinks are packed full of sugar and caffeine – with up to 15.6g of super per 100ml – children are at risk of developing serious health problems. These include:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Heart problems

Energy drinks can also cause other more immediate health issues such as palpitations, agitation, chest main, dizziness and insomnia – all of which are counter productive for a child who wants to learn.

When used as a replacement for a balanced and nutritious breakfast, these energy drinks offer a double whammy of negativity.

They not only increase health issues in youths, but they also stand in the way of good nutrition through proper vitamins and minerals.

While energy levels need to be high to get through a school day, this can only be properly achieved through good nutrition.

Students may feel fuelled to start the day immediately after a sugar and caffeine loaded drink, but this will soon wear off and lead to a ‘crash’ later that day when the fast releasing sugars wear off.

The balanced breakfast

Balanced Breakfast

Image Credit: Health Explained

Children should be consuming a balanced breakfast with a good source of carbohydrates and proteins as well as healthy fats.

Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for the brain, and while sugars are carbs, their fast releasing nature proves they’re not suitable for sustained brainpower.

Ideas for good, balanced breakfasts include:

Porridge – made with low fat milk and topped with fruit and perhaps some nuts and seeds.

Wholegrain toast or bagel with low fat margarine. Scrambled egg or a hard-boiled egg also adds a great source of protein.

Fruit smoothie – As fruits contain a lot of sugars, balance out the smoothie with powdered oats for longer-lasting fuel. Low fat milk also adds some protein to the smoothie, while a spoon of peanut butter can add some healthy fats.

Yoghurt parfait – Attractive and fun for kids to eat, it’s easy to add in their favourite flavours, from banana slices, to strawberries and sliced almonds.

Omelette – Eggs contain essential fats that are great for the brain. Omelettes are best teamed with a source of carbohydrate – for example vegetables and/or a slice of wholegrain toast. This should ensure your little one’s brain keeps ticking right through to lunch.

How do you keep your kids off the energy drinks? Share your tips with us below or tweet us @Unistage