Last week I found a flyer in my daughter’s backpack, it said that the elementary school has banned all energy drinks from the campus. My eye twitched for a minute. Since when do elementary age kids need energy drinks? Yeah, whenever my kid hasn’t had enough sleep I just give her a Monster! NOT!! Anyway, it caught my interest and we have a couple of cans of Rockstar Recovery: Energy+Hydration sitting on the counter that I could look at.
So first of all, the school newsletter said; Drinks defined as beverages with added caffeine, are not allowed in all JPS elementary schools. It goes on to say: According to the APA, the concern with energy drinks is they frequently contain high and unregulated amounts of caffeine. There was also an article that came home stated that energy drinks contain up to 3,000 mg of stimulants per serving. Holy CRAP! Other side effects the article points out include: heart palpitations; caffeine addiction; jitteriness and nausea; insomnia and increased propensity for strokes. The article points out that the long-term effects of energy drinks on children are unknown but childhood energy drink usage might be linked to future drug use.
Last year we walked in a diabetes walk and they were passing out Rockstar Recovery: Energy+Hydration drink. My husband (the diabetic) and I tried some. We still have them sitting on the counter. It’s a 16 oz can with 2 servings. That’s important because a single serving has a whole 80 mg of caffeine but let’s not kid ourselves; people don’t generally share these so let’s just call it 160 mg of caffeine in a 16 oz can. 160 mg of caffeine is really comparable to a cup of coffee so if you wanted caffeine; coffee is your best bet. Here is a comparison of different soft drinks and their caffeine content. We see 8.2 oz of Red Bull has 80 mg of caffeine compared to 175 mg in 8 ozs of coffee. The caffeine content in pop depends on the brand. Coke, for example has 34.5mg in an 8 oz serving. That’s fine if you keep it to 8 ozs but like I said before, if you have a 20 oz bottle of pop, What are the odds that you’re going to share it? Now imagine going to 7-11 and getting a Double-Big gulp…
So anyway, back to elementary school kids with energy drinks. I actually think it’s great that school systems are taking a stand and at least saying: Not in our building! That of course doesn’t stop kids from getting their hands on a Red Bull when they are not in school but really, that’s the parents responsibility. Some cities have responded to the problem by proposing laws that ban them, not just on school campuses but banning businesses from selling them to, in this case, the 19 and under set. That’s where it starts feeling like big brother to me. One reason, why can’t an 18-year-old get one? 18 year olds can buy cigarettes! Another reason: I feel that when laws get passed to replace common sense than society gets dumber. (I’ll talk more about that some other time!)
One more thing. Most of the articles that I came across stressed the caffeine as the bad ingredient. I did come across an article in Science Based that talked about the other ingredients that make up the 3,000 mg of stimulants that are so dangerous for kids. As I said before I don’t have issues with the schools (public or private) saying “You can’t have that here!” I would even advocate them taking pop machines out too. What gets on my nerves though are the people screaming: “OMG!!! THIS IS GOING TO KILL OUR KIDS AND TURN THEM INTO SLOBBERING DRUG ADDICTS!!!!! There ought to be a law against this trash!” Usually followed up with incomplete studies, anecdotal evidence and outraged media. Blah, blah blah, you get the picture!