The Prevention of Unnecessary "Wings" for Young Children

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The negative effects of energy drinks outweigh the temporary boost in energy that they create because of the ingredients they contain. Therefore, there should be an age limit that restricts the consumption of energy drinks to a minimum of eighteen years of age. When children feel tired, stressed, or even overwhelmed, they feel the need for an energy booster to get them through the day. According to studies and calculations concluded in the article “Pediatrics” by Sara M. Seifert, “energy drinks are devoured by 30% to 50% of adolescents and young adults”. As time progressed, energy drinks were created in versions that may be convenient to anyone such as cans, bottles, shots, powder, and even pills. So, the true question is: Do these so called “Miracle Drinks” really give you energy? The answer is absolutely yes!!! They achieve their goal by raising awareness, decreasing sleepiness, and increasing alertness. However, it may be at the cost of these innocent children’s lives. Manufacturers are not required to tell us how much of each ingredient their product contains, but overall the most common energy drink ingredients are as follows:

1- Caffeine:

Caffeine is one of the main elements of energy drinks. Most of us know that caffeine is a source of energy, but the concern is the amount of caffeine that is in these products. During a segment of the Dr. Oz Show, Dr. Oz demonstrated the effect of this ingredient by using a test that orders four items in an ascending order from lowest to highest in caffeine. The items used were a soda can, a cup of coffee, a cup of tea, and an energy shot. The can of soda had 30 mg of caffeine while the cup of tea consisted of 50 mg. The cup of coffee consisted of 135 mg and, surprisingly, the energy shot had 300 mg of caffeine. The final results were shocking and not expected. Dr. Oz ended this segment by adding that too much caffeine can increase your heart rate and blood pressure, interrupt your sleep, and cause nervousness.

2- Vitamins:

There are massive amounts of vitamin B in many different brands of energy drinks. There are many kinds of vitamin B in these drinks that are not considered to be life threatening with the exception of two: Vitamin B3 (large amounts can cause vision blurriness, upset stomach, and liver problems) and Vitamin B6 (large amounts can cause numbness and tingling). The majority of us get plenty of these vitamins in our daily meals and do not need more by drinking these threatening drinks.

3- Guarana:

Guarana is a seed derived from a Brazilian shrub. It is actually considered a source of caffeine. A seed of guarana has twice the amount of caffeine than a single coffee bean. This fact about guarana is not included on the label of any of these energy drinks.

4- Ginseng:

Ginseng is an extract from a plant. It has been found to boost brain power but only if the dosage of ginseng is above 200 mg. However, energy drinks do not contain that much ginseng, so we can basically say that we are getting fooled. Because of that fact, this ingredient is absolutely useless.

5- Sugar:

The average serving of an energy drink contains fourteen tablespoons of sugar. The recommended daily sugar serving is six tablespoons. Therefore, one energy drink has basically twice the amount of sugar we should be getting a day!!! The sugar will give you an energy boost, however your body will not maintain that same amount of energy, and it will come crashing back down. We do not want to forget that this results in a lot of calories too. It will cause weight gain. Do not be fooled when the label reads “sugar free”. Those in particular will make you crave even more sugar.

6- Taurine:

It is defined as an acid. I find it funny that there is little research on taurine and whether it is safe or not. There is not even any research to prove if it is an energy booster. No side effects have been documented.  Some countries (France, Denmark, and Norway) banned energy drinks because of their taurine content, yet it is accepted that taurine consumption is safe based on the evidence to date.

-Looking back at these facts, they may be negotiable for those who care about their health and lives, but what about the innocent young children who drink these crucial drinks as an enjoyment? My family owns liquor store businesses all around the LA county. I work in one of them and I find it disturbing how there are no restrictions concerning children purchasing energy drinks. I feel guilty when selling these energy drinks and marketing them at the point of sale to attract people and even children in purchasing them. Professor Steven Lipshultz, a pediatric cardiologist at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit, previously said “a 10-year-old could get caffeine poisoning after consuming 80 mg of caffeine, while a 12-year-old may suffer symptoms, including hallucinations and convulsions, after 100 mg”. Therefore, we can conclude that if a child decides to drink an energy beverage, he/she would be consuming twice the amount of caffeine that is allowed for someone that age and can eventually cause critical implications. These drinks are giving children a high that their body cannot maintain. So, their bodies crash. They are suddenly at a low point that they cannot handle. This is why their body needs a steadier state of function to work properly. They have to go through a healthier path and prevent themselves of using these stupid shortcuts! If they do that, they will not need any “wings” that Red Bull offers because they have themselves to rely on!!!