Caffeine and Your Kids

caffeineCaffeine consumption in kids can lead to health concerns if not monitored by parents and physicians alike. Here are answers to three basic questions on the subject.

Which soft drink has more caffeine?
Which soft drink has more caffeine? Coca Cola, Pepsi, Surge or Mountain Dew? Food companies do not have to list how much caffeine is in their drinks on the labels. So a recent article in Zillions (the kids offshoot of Consumer Reports) detailed the results of a study of these popular soft drinks and the results might surprise you. Mountain Dew had 55mg and Surge 53 mg of caffeine in a 12 0z. bottle compared to 47mg for Coke and 37mg for Pepsi. Most people associate caffeine with the cola color and assume that Mountain Dew has no caffeine like 7 UP and Sprite. The research shows that this is clearly not the case.

How can caffeine affect my child’s health?
Caffeine, even in doses of 20 to 50 mg, can have an effect on a child. As a stimulant, it revs up your nerves and can make kids feel more alert and less sleepy. Sensitive kids can feel anxious, restless, jittery and have trouble sleeping. The effects of caffeine can last up to 24 hours.

Is caffeine addictive to children?
There is also an addictive effect which can create cravings in kids who drink these drinks on a regular basis. If they don’t get the caffeine they can feel more sleepy and may experience headaches and irritability from caffeine withdrawal. So be aware of how much caffeine your children are consuming and be an educated consumer when you are in the supermarket.