Energy drinks and teenagers – Should they be banned?

energy drinks effects on teenagers cans multiple brand of energy drink

As a teenager, looking at all the cool kids drinking a can of Monster or Red Bull energy drink, you’ll probably want to be like them and grab a can for yourself. Energy drinks can give you the energy high that you seek and help you improve your athletic performance and focus for a short period of time.

Sure, energy drinks might be cool and give you a quick fix to your energy needs, but the potential benefits don’t come without some potential consequences.

Generally, energy drinks are safe to drink if you are an average healthy adult and consume no more than 400mg of caffeine in a day.

If you are under the age of 18 you should probably stay away from energy drinks altogether.

Do energy drink have age restrictions?

No, there are no age restrictions on the sale of any caffeinated beverages including, energy drinks in the United States.

However, in England, children are to be banned from buying energy drinks. The restriction will apply to energy drinks with a caffeine content of more than 150mg.

effects energy drink teenagers
A single can of Monster energy drink contains 160mg of caffeine.

Well, it’s no surprise that a potential ban would target these highly caffeinated energy drinks. Energy drinks with high caffeine content have often been linked to causing health issues and behavior problems in children.

Can a 13-year-old drink energy drinks?

Yes, you can, but we don’t recommend it.

At the moment in the United States, there are no age restrictions on energy drinks.

However, in countries like England, teenagers are to be banned from drinking energy drinks. If you’re in England right now you can still legally drink energy drinks, but only those that contain 150mg of caffeine or less.

Once the law has been passed, the sale of energy drinks will be restricted to either children over 16 or over 18, depending on what happens in the course of making the proposed ban an actual law in that country.

I wouldn’t recommend that you drink energy drinks if you’re under the age of 18, even though it’s still legal in most countries. Who knows what it could do to you in the long term.

In fact, energy drinks like Red Bull were once banned in France due to the potential health risk that it may cause.

Are energy drinks safe to drink?

Yes, unless you have a pre-existing health condition, energy drinks are safe to drink.

But, that doesn’t mean that energy drinks are suitable for children or teenagers. 

Again, if you are an adult, energy drinks are safe to drink, but you mustn’t have any pre-existing health conditions – especially anything to do with your heart.

If you’re pregnant or nursing it’s best not to drink energy drinks at all.

Depending on what brand it is, some energy drinks contain an ungodly amount of caffeine. Those are the brands that you should avoiding completely or limiting your consumption of them.

If you’re under the age of 18, I would strongly discourage you from drinking energy drinks due to their high levels of caffeine and sugar.

Both are known to be bad for the health of developing and growing bodies.

Can I drink energy drinks every day?

Personally, I think you can drink an energy drink every day if you are an adult, especially the ones that don’t have such high levels of caffeine.

If consumed as per the label instructions, you are very unlikely to encounter any health problems from a single energy drink per day.

Depending on what brand you choose, you may have some problems down the track though – lots of sugar is definitely not a good idea over the long term.

So, choose an energy drink that has less or zero sugar and a sensible amount of caffeine.

However, you should consider occasionally taking a break from them for a day or two. Too much of anything is never a good thing.

Effects of energy drink on teenagers

Energy drinks can have some potentially devastating effects on the health and behaviour of teenagers.

  • Poor behavior 

    Energy drinks can cause you to become hyperactive and jittery. They give you a short energy high that can be very addictive. Most teenagers use them to stay up late until the early hours of the morning, sacrificing the proper sleep and rest they need.

    There have been articles that prove that energy drinks cause behavioral problems and poor classroom discipline in teenagers.

    The main culprit?

    It’s all the stimulants that are in an energy drinks that are the cause of it. Caffeine and sugar mostly.

  • Tooth Decay

    Reports have confirmed that energy drinks are bad for your teeth. The citric acid in many energy drinks can strip the enamel right off your teeth and leave dark yellow stains behind as well.

    A can of Red bull energy drink in front of a grey tiles
    Energy drinks are known to cause tooth decay in teenagers.
  • Insomnia

    Essentially, energy drinks work by compounding a lot of stimulants that keep you awake and give you a burst of energy. But what happens when you turn to energy drink as your daily go-to beverage?

    Energy drinks can indeed keep you more alert when you’re tired. It’s like a double-edged sword, they keep you awake, but also stop you from getting restful and restorative sleep.

    The effects of caffeine generally last for about 6 hours (depending on your physiological makeup). This can mess up your sleep patterns, preventing your body from getting the proper rest that it needs.

    Over time, this could lead to other illness such as depression, anxiety or worse.

  • Increased blood pressure

    Studies have shown that energy drinks can increase your blood pressure.

    Consuming just one 16 fl.oz can of energy drink raises blood pressure and stress hormones in teenagers. Having high blood pressure is generally bad for your health as it puts extra strain on your heart and blood vessels.

    Over time this can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

  • Headaches

    Some people with high sensitivity to caffeine may experience a headache after drinking an energy drink. Besides that, consuming energy drinks that are high in caffeine are also known to cause severe migraines in some people.

    This is because your body experiences caffeine withdrawal symptoms.

  • Weight Gain

    Some energy drinks contain a large amount of sugar. Consume too much sugar and you’ll be well on your way to gaining a few more pounds than you might like to.

    energy drink causes weight gain
    Drinking too many energy drinks that are high in sugar can cause you to gain weight.
  • Stomachaches

    Some people may experience stomach aches after drinking energy drinks. Personally, I often get a stomachache whenever I drink an energy drink on an empty stomach.

    This happens because caffeine encourages your stomach to produce more acid than what it normally would. That coupled with the way that caffeine interacts with your stomach acid is what causes the stomachaches.

  • Caffeine Addiction

    The constant feeling of energy surging through your body that you get after drinking a can of energy drink can feel pretty good. In fact, the high that you experience can be addictive.

    There have been studies showing that just 100mg of caffeine per day is enough to get you hooked.

    Energy drinks like Bang energy and Xyience energy contain a large amount of caffeine and can easily cause an addiction in a teenager if consumption goes unchecked.

    Caffeine addiction can quickly spiral out of control as higher and higher doses of caffeine will be needed to experience the same boost that you previously felt as your body adapts to the daily caffeine intake.

What is in an energy drink that’s bad for you?

Sugar

Sugar is known to be one of the main ingredient to cause negative effect in energy drinks effect teenagers

Have you ever wondered what’s in an energy drink that makes it taste so awesome and sweet?

Sugar.

Sugar is the major cause of obesity in children and is public enemy number one on the list of energy drink ingredients.

Energy drinks contain caffeine which by itself is already addictive, but when coupled with a high sugar content, can lead to pretty devastating results. As we all know sugar is really bad for you, and many energy drinks contain tons of it.

If obesity begins in childhood, it is more likely to follow you into adulthood. This is because as a teenager we form habits which then become part of our behavior as we grow up.

Besides that, sugar is also known to be the number one cause of tooth decay.

The bacteria in our mouths use sugar to produce acid that dissolves the outer layer of the teeth (the enamel). Over time, this can lead to cavities or the stripping of your enamel, causing your teeth to become overly sensitive to temperature.

Caffeine

Caffeine is the ever-present ingredient that all energy drinks have in common. Without caffeine, there wouldn’t be nearly as much of a boost.

Caffeine in small doses doesn’t really do much harm to your health if you’re an adult (in fact, it can be beneficial), but teenagers are advised to steer clear.

The maximum daily dosage for caffeine for an average healthy adult is 400mg a day as stated by the FDA. However, there are no guidelines for caffeine consumption for teenagers.

Even in adults, consuming more than 100mg of caffeine can cause some side effects to their health. If you are under the age of 18, the high caffeine content in an energy drink can harm your still-developing cardiovascular and nervous system.

Caffeine as a stimulant affects your central nervous system and causes you to be more hyperactive. In large doses, caffeine can sometimes cause several health issues such as caffeine addiction, high blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia, and digestive issues.

What’s worse is that due to your body still developing, caffeine can take a toll on your heart by constricting the blood vessels which might lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Citric acid

The acid in an energy drink (mainly citric acid) can have a detrimental effect on your dental health.

Mainly used as a preservative to prolong the shelf life of energy drinks, citric acid can also strip away the enamel from your teeth.

The enamel is like a wall of defense for your teeth. Once it’s gone your teeth become more prone to cavities and decay. Consuming a lot of citric acids can also cause you to lose bone mass and potentially develop kidney stones.

A man chewing on lemon
Lemon is one of the greatest sources of citric acid.

Should energy drinks be banned for under 18’s?

I am 100% in favor of a ban on energy drinks for minors.

I think that a worldwide restriction should be placed on the sale of energy drinks, preventing them from being sold to children under the age of 18.

While I think that energy drinks are perfectly fine for adults to drink, I am concerned that the growing bodies and minds of children should be protected from caffeine and sugar as much as possible.

I think the rest of the world can learn a thing or two from what is happening in the United Kingdom with regard to the forthcoming energy drink ban to anyone under the age of 18. If people elsewhere in the world can continue to lobby their local politicians we may see similar bans becoming more commonplace in the not too distant future.

REIZE Energy Drink

If you’re worried about your health and well-being and are looking for an energy drink with a more sensible amount of caffeine that’s also sugar-free, check out REIZE Energy Drink.

REIZE Energy Drink is very convenient.
REIZE contains a sensible amount of caffeine.

REIZE is a powder energy drink that contains only 50mg of caffeine and 0g of sugar per serve. It also comes in a pretty cool looking sachet, perfect as a pick me up option.

The best part?

REIZE ships right to your door for around $1 per drink. Despite being low in caffeine, REIZE doesn’t compromise on the energy boost due to the inclusion of things like ginseng, taurine and plenty of B vitamins in the list of ingredients.

Just like any other energy drink, coffee, tea or soda (which are all caffeinated), REIZE is not suitable for children or teenagers, but it’s definitely a good option for anyone who is already older than 18 years old.

Give REIZE a try today and you might find that REIZE quickly becomes your favourite energy drink.

Marty Spargo

I started my own energy drink brand in 2014 and am passionate about educating people about energy drinks so that they can properly understand the ingredients, benefits and risks without being influenced by the marketing messages put out by some brands. You can read my full bio here.

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