Energy drinks can be found everywhere. Energy drinks are fine in moderation, but when enjoyed too often, they can pose serious risks to a teenager’s health. This guide will help you better understand the effects that energy drinks have on a teenager’s body.
Inconsistent Energy Levels
While energy drinks may hype someone up for an hour or two, this burst of energy is almost always followed by an intense crash. If energy drinks are consumed regularly, then the body slowly adapts to the rush of sugar and caffeine, and it gradually takes more and more product to get the same rush. Teens who often consume energy drinks report high levels of fatigue and lethargy compared to teens who avoid the stuff.
These beverages contain some amount of water, but they are far from hydrating. As the body attempts to metabolize the vast quantities of sugar, vitamins, and other additives, water plays a key role in flushing out any excess or byproducts. Caffeine, a diuretic, makes teenagers have to urinate a lot more than they usually do, and that drains even more water. Dehydration can cause lethargy, cramps, and headaches, and on hot days, it can even lead to a medical emergency!
What do caffeine, methamphetamine, and cocaine have in common? They’re all addictive stimulants. These substances cause your teen’s neurons to flood the brain with dopamine — the” happy” chemical. The body can quickly become dependent on any substance that increases dopamine levels, and when a person misses a “dose,” withdrawal symptoms kick in. Once hooked, teens will experience headaches, irritability, cramps, and general discomfort in the absence of caffeine.
Spikes in Blood Sugar
Doctors recommend that men consume no more than nine teaspoons of sugar per day, and women shouldn’t consume any more than six teaspoons of sugar per day. For teens, these numbers are no different. A 250mL can of Red Bull, which is the smallest option available, has seven teaspoons of sugar in it. As far as energy drinks go, this amount is par for the course. Such a high quantity of sugar is extremely unhealthy. Upon consumption of this much sugar, the teen’s blood sugar levels will spike, and the pancreas will have to go into overdrive to produce enough insulin to metabolize this outrageous amount of sugar. If a teen regularly consumes energy drinks, they are at a much higher risk for diabetes.
Teeth don’t like sugar or acids, and that’s pretty much all energy drinks are! Acid wears away at tooth enamel. The sugar in the drinks is a feast for bacteria, increasing the risk for cavities and tooth decay. If left untreated, tooth decay and enamel damage will require root canals, drilling, fillings, and a number of other expensive, not-so-fun dental procedures.
Sugary drinks have a ton of calories. Even a small can has between 125 and 150 calories. While this may not be significant in a single day, after a while, these extra calories add up. Teenagers who often consume energy drinks are more likely to gain weight, especially as they grow older and their metabolism slows.
People drink caffeine specifically for energy, so it comes as no surprise that drinks filled with caffeine will keep a person up at night. It takes a long time for the body to fully process caffeine, and even after the initial rush of energy has worn off, caffeine can still keep teenagers up at night. This often leads to a vicious cycle where the teenager doesn’t sleep well, consumes more caffeine to make up for it, then has an even harder time falling asleep the next night!