Youth Focus

Youth Focus
Have you seen those brightly colored cans on the shelf that appear to be soda drinks with names such as Full Throttle, Red Bull – even Monster? Over 500 new energy drinks were launched worldwide this year, and many of them promised to help people lose weight, increase muscle, and boost energy. This year about 7.6 million teens said they tried energy drinks – beverages that contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other ingredients.

Caffeine: Boosts energy; often found in large quantities – between 70 to 200 mg (12 ounces of Coke =50mg); side effects such as rapid heartbeat or dehydration if water is not replenished. Avoid consuming energy drinks before, during or after athletic events.

Taurine: Amino acid is naturally produced by our bodies; controls heartbeat, muscle contractions, and energy levels; causes the brain to become more excited.

Guarana/guarine: Increases alertness and energy; two times stronger than caffeine; not included in the caffeine total on the label.

B Vitamins: Help our bodies convert substances, such as sugar, to energy. You can harm your body if you overload on these vitamins!

Ginseng and Ginkgo Biloba: Herbs not naturally created by your body; not monitored by the government.

L-Carnitine: Amino acid is created naturally in our bodies by our liver and kidneys, "inactive" form can hurt your activity levels.

Sugars: Energy drinks often contain large amounts of sugar. If you plan on exercising for longer than 60 minutes, an energy drink (such as Gatorade or Powerade) with a moderate amount of sugar will provide you with enough energy. If you are not exercising and consume these energy drinks, this added sugar will not be used by your body and can make you gain weight. A high sugar level can cause a sudden crash in energy levels once the sugar quickly leaves the blood stream.

Antioxidants: These vitamins can be good for the body as they help to ward off illness (such as colds) and prevent cell damage. But this might be "too much of a good thing." You only need 100 percent of antioxidants such as Vitamin C, E, A in one day.

Think before you grab that next drink – actually, take a cold drink of water and do your body some good.

My source is from the Team Nutrition Newsletter found at

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