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Caffeine – We Knew It Wasn’t Good For You

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Hey, remember when you were a kid and you would ask your mom or dad for a sip of their coffee and you always would get the reply “It will stunt your growth”?  Usually all it took to get us off the coffee kick as kids was that first sip of hot black tar with no sugar or cream. Hey, that’s how they drank it in those days. It was an acquired taste, that I did actually acquire some years later working part time in the café at Barnes and Noble. (Something had to keep me going during that 5 hour stretch after I had already worked a full day)

Well, now kids seem to be more apt to have an iced coffee with their parents.  Why is this?  Because most of the iced coffees and fraps you get are really nothing short of a milkshake and they are certainly loaded with calories.  Have you tried one of the Oreo Coolattas at Dunkin Donuts?  They are extremely delicious, don’t get me wrong, but what are all of these high caffeine drinks doing to our kids?
There is always new research coming around to teach us something new, right?  Same goes for coffee and soda for kids.  Research now says even lower doses of caffeine, even what you may find in a half can of soda or cup of coffee affects not necessarily their growth, but get this…blood pressure and heart rates, more in boys than girls after puberty.  Holy cow.
Some experts even think that caffeinated drinks should be on the “No” list, at least until they hit their late teens
In this study, low doses of caffeine in children between the ages of 8 and 9 made no difference, however for kids 15 to 17, the results were more apparent, especially for the boys.
Regardless of the age, the caffeine did, in fact, slow heart rates and showed an increase in blood pressure.
Health benefits in caffeine?  Hmmm….let’s see….oh yeah, there’s none.  So does this mean that the best thing a parent can do is to keep them away from caffeinated drinks altogether?  Most parents will agree that a stimulant to keep their kids awake is not exactly what they are looking for these days.
Keep kids away from caffeine?  Ha!  Easier said than done, right?  Given how all of the caffeinated drinks are crammed down our throats through all of the crafty advertising of trendy drinks like Red Bull, Monster, and Mountain Dew.
A report published recently has indicated that the amount of soda that kids are drinking has decreased, however, it is feared that the sodas are being replaced by the flavored coffee drinks and energy drinks.
Here’s a shocker; Kids are consuming less milk and water.  Big surprise, huh?  Whatever happened to just plain juice?  My kids used to drink apple juice like it was going out of style.  Water is just too plain and unappealing for kids, so they have colored it up and added different flavor enhancers to the market. Better than the coffee and energy drinks, however, not sure yet if they are the best alternative overall.
For younger kids, the solution to cutting out the high caffeine drinks is relatively simple…just don’t bring them into your house.  However, when the kids are a little older, have their own money and more liberty; it becomes more difficult to control what they consume.  I guess the best thing we can do is to educate them about the healthy alternatives.  In an ideal world, right?

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