Healthy Eating Means You Have to Stop Giving Caffeine to Your Child
If you asked any mom if she would dare give her young child a cup of coffee for breakfast, she would stare at you in shock that you would even dare to suggest such a thing. Caffeine is definitely not something healthy to give a child, yet children consume caffeine everyday, some in large quantities.
Parents are just unaware, or unconcerned that there kids are eating and drinking food items that contain caffeine because it looks like normal everyday food and drink items. Caffeine lurks in everyday food items, and parents need to be aware not only of which items contain caffeine but why caffeine is so unhealthy for children to consume.
The United States does not have guidelines for caffeine consumption in children yet. Canada guidelines for caffeine recommend that preschool children get no more than 45 milligrams of caffeine a day. Do you know how much caffeine that is? A 12-ounce can of soda contains 45 milligrams of caffeine so does four 1.5-ounce milk chocolate bars.
Why is caffeine unhealthy for children to consume?
Caffeine is a drug, a stimulant to be exact. It stimulates the central nervous system. When taken at small amounts it makes people feel more alert. When taken in larger amounts caffeine can make you feel jittery, nervous, have an upset stomach, or have headaches, difficulty in concentrating, or have difficulty sleeping, or experience an increased heart rate or have increased blood pressure. In children it does not take much caffeine to achieve these effects. Do you want your child to experience difficulty concentrating at school? Do you want your child to have difficulty sleeping at bedtime? Would you like your child to have an increased heart rate or high blood pressure, or to experience headaches or upset stomachs?
These symptoms are not the only reason to make sure your child does not consume caffeinated products.
Statistics show that just one 12-ounce sweetened soft drink per day increases a child’s risk of obesity by 60%.
When kids drink soda they get filled up on the drink and then do not eat the healthy foods that they should be eating. They can fill up on soda and not take in any nutrients that their growing bodies need. Drinking soda also means that they do not drink enough milk and are missing out on the calcium for teeth and bones.
When children drink too many sugary drinks such as soda, they are prone to dental cavities from the erosion of the enamel of the teeth from the acidity in the soda. Do you know how much sugar is contained in a one 12-ounce can of soda? A 12-ounce non-diet carbonated soft drink contains the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar (49 milliliters), which is 150 calories.
When a person’s body is used to a certain amount of caffeine and then all of a sudden doesn’t receive the caffeine anymore there can be withdrawal symptoms such as temporary depression, headaches, irritability, and also muscle aches.
If an individual has heart problems or a nervous disorder, even if someone like a child does not know they have such conditions; caffeine can aggravate these conditions.
Children can become dehydrated when they drink caffeinated drinks because the drug caffeine is a diuretic. Diuretics cause the body to eliminate water, which it does through the process of urination. Especially in hot water, children need to replace the water they lose through perspiration and if they drink enough caffeinated drinks they may become dehydrated, which can be dangerous, especially in the heat of summer.
Kids probably get most of their caffeine from sodas, iced tea, caffeine is also found in chocolate, coffee ice cream, pain relievers, and other over-the-counter medicines like cold relief medicines, and of course coffee and tea.