Energy drinks a no-go for children

Written by: Lianne Castelino

Published: Aug 4, 2010

Most parents would have to agree, the last things our kids need is more energy especially in the form of sugary syrupy caffeinated beverages.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal released an editorial Monday titled “Caffeinating” children and youth about the drastic increase in the popularity of energy drink amongst kids and teens.

The editorial states that some of these 500 mL energy drinks are equivalent to allowing your child to drink ten cans of coke in one sitting. It also lists the effects that this amount of caffeine could have on your child such as mood disorders, obesity and sleeplessness.

The report reads “Caffeine-loaded energy drinks have now crossed the line from beverages to drugs delivered as tasty syrups.”

The writers argue that Health Canada should require the beverage makers to label their products more clearly.

“To minimize use by children, there should be no advertising targeting this vulnerable group. Finally, we should invest in public education focused on the health consequences of caffeine in children,” say the writers of the editorial.

Refreshments Canada, a national organization representing beverage companies released its own statement claiming numerous faults within the Canadian Medical Association Journal’s editorial.

The statement reads: “Energy drinks are intended for adults and clearly indicate on the label that this category of beverage is not recommended for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women and people who are sensitive to caffeine.  Unlike coffee, tea and iced coffee beverages which contain no caffeine labelling (and in many cases have quantities of caffeine much higher than a typical energy drink) and contrary to your editorial, all energy drinks have quantitative declaration of caffeine from all sources (natural and synthetic).”

Refreshment Canada ends off its statement by saying they agree as an industry there needs to be better consumer education and that they are working with Health Canada on an education campaign.

“Kids will just see their favourite snowboarder or skateboarder drinking the newest energy drink and assume that it is fine for them to have,” says Lianne Castelino, mother of three and co-founder of

Castelino says it is important to be open and honest with your children and discuss these issues so they can become educated to make better health choices on their own.

“The bottom line is we need to be very vigilant as parents and take a strong interest in what our kids are consuming,” says Castelino.

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