(CNN) – Energy drinks: they’re cheap, high-octane, and readily available in stores; maybe too readily available.
A recent study found that over 40% of all energy drink-related calls to poison control centers in the U.S. were for kids under 6, many of them suffering serious nervous system and heart symptoms.
“A can or a bottle of an energy drink could have as much as 500mg of caffeine which is equal to about 14 cans of soda; so, way higher than you’d want a child to have.”
Shu says the dangers of overconsumption for kids, and even adults, varies. It can be “as simple as headaches or some shakiness or jitteriness, but there could even be more serious problems with your heart rhythm, where your heart is irregular, it beats too fast, or even seizures.”
But it’s not just the caffeine and other stimulants raising concerns. The drinks are also often filled with sugar.
“Too much of that sugar can cause weight gain as well as cavities.”
In general, Shu says, it’s best to keep kids away from anything but the basics.
“For the most part, all of the fluid your body needs can be found in water, in milk and some 100% fruit juice. You really don’t need what’s marketed as sports drinks with electrolytes unless you’re doing some really vigorous physical exercise.”