The Dangers of Energy Drinks - What Young People Need to Know
By Maya A. Pescatore / January 1, 2013

Entering high school for the first time is extremely overwhelming, especially when you look at all the work you have to do. Where could teens possibly get the energy to do school work, chores, hobbies, and keeping up their social life? The easy answer is energy drinks.

Energy drinks are a teenager's best friend when it comes to getting by day-by-day. Not only are there large amount of caffeine in them, but there are also extreme amounts of sugar. Consuming one energy drink filled with nauseating ingredients each day could lead to serious health issues in the future. Unfortunately, however, teenagers see energy drinks as a source of energy to make it through the school day and after-school activities and maybe homework, after going on Facebook for two hours.

The reality of it is that teenagers (and, to some extent, adults) are too lazy to find alternative means of energy. Healthful habits to obtain energy without a hurtful crash include regular exercise. Thanks to our overall culture, however, the thought of having to work to get this energy and be healthy is far too hard and takes too much time, compared to consuming large amounts of sugar and artificial dyes.
Consider this: an energy drink contains sugar AND caffeine, six times the amount in a cup of coffee. Both are drugs and extremely addictive. Recently, a teen in Maryland died after consuming large amounts of Monster in two consecutive days. The family blames the energy drink for her death, which was from a heart attack. "My parents told me about the girl while we were driving home," says Angel, 15. "I got so scared and quit Monster right away."

This teen's death is one of five being investigated from consuming the popular beverage. This just goes to show how addictive and dangerous energy drinks can be. Yes, the addiction is up to the user and how she or her uses the product. But, when young adolescents have money in their pockets and see flashy commercials advertising an energy drink, they only think of the benefits, not the risks.

Teenagers are inclined to simply reach inside a refrigerator and pull out an energy drink to obtain the energy they need to perform their best throughout the day. Parents should encourage their children with this lazy mindset to choose something else to increase their energy levels.

Some young people gravitate toward healthy alternatives. "There are always energy drinks in the house," says Michael, 17, "but I never drink them. I work out with my teammates to stay energized and healthy."

Parents, encourage your children to exercise, but, more important, emphasize that they should include their friends. The inclusion of their friends makes the activity not only more fun, but safer as well.

Instead of throwing away the expensive beverages in a fit, thinking that your child might die from them, keep them. This will help your child resist the temptation to take the easy road. By doing this, a teenager's mindset will change from wanting to do things halfway and being aloof to wanting to take on more challenges and dedication to the task at hand. Teens can be deceived by the flashy commercials, so parents must help them understand the dangers of consuming extraordinary amounts of caffeine and sugar.

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