What Your Youth Athlete Should NEVER Drink

What Your Youth Athlete Should NEVER Drink!

The “Gatorade dunk” is that special moment in sports when a championship team congratulates their coach with a icy sugary sports drink bath.  It’s also when the marketing team at Gatorade celebrates, thankful for all the free publicity.  Ah, free publicity.  It’s when a child sees his football hero drinking from a brightly colored and logo’ed paper cup on the sideline then rushing back into the game.  This advertising is not so in your face, but it works well.

Sports and energy drink marketers regularly huddle up and figure out ways to get you and your family to drink their products.  With an solid understanding of the importance of hydration, what’s good and what’s not for our youth football athletes in the vast sea of sports drinks?

The Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics published a report on the effectiveness of sports and energy drinks for children and adolescents.  The findings are enlightening. One thing is clear- boys in youth football should never consume energy drinks as a form of hydration.  A drink is considered an energy drink when it contains stimulants such as caffeine, guarana, taurine, ginseng, L-carnitine, creatine and others.  There isn’t anything in these stimulants that are considered nutritional for our growing kids, therefore, there is no need for these energy drinks.

When it comes to sports drinks, such as Gatorade and Powerade, the above report by the American Academy of Pediatrics questions effectiveness.  When it comes to the vitamins, minerals and/or electrolytes that sports drinks contain- most are found in a healthy balanced diet.  Also, if your kid is a sports drink enthusiast, brace yourself for more trips to the dentist. Citric acid, commonly found in sports drinks, is considered “highly erosive” to   enamel of teeth.  So are these drinks needed?  Probably not, limiting consumption is great idea.

Sports and energy drink marketing teams allot big advertising dollars targeting children and teens.  Let’s be smarter.  Let’s continue to hydrate our youth football athletes with water before, during and after games.  Want a real energy boost for your child?  Fresh squeeze a few oranges or a grapefruit using a cheap hand held juicer.  You can’t go wrong with nature’s sports and energy drink.

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