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Healthier Me: Teen Athletes & Energy Drinks - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Healthier Me: Teen Athletes & Energy Drinks

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Teenagers put in some long hours and can run pretty tired. They have class, homework, and don't forget to squeeze in a social life. Student athletes may be especially looking for an extra boost, but the experts say it's important they don't buy into the energy drink craze.

Athletic trainers at Sanford Health say teens are not always aware of the dangers associated with consuming energy drinks.

Energy drinks may contain potentially dangerous ingredients other than caffeine. For example, some contain herbal supplements that are not necessarily safe for teens. While an occasional energy drink is unlikely to do harm to a healthy teenager, they are potentially dangerous for kids with health conditions such as heart problems, ADHD, diabetes and psychological problems.

In addition, if your teenager is taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications, interactions with these ingredients may occur.

Most energy drinks also contain large amounts of sugar, which may cause weight gain.  

Athletic trainers say downing the drinks often backfires for student athletes. Sanford Health Athletic Trainer, Bradley Reed, says he's caught kids taking a 5 Hour Energy shot or drinking on a Monster before practice of a game.  He says "by the 3rd or 4th quarter -- they are toast because the sugar high has worn off."

Here's some advice for parents: If your teen is drinking energy drinks because they are tired -- try encouraging them to get more sleep. And, stress the importance of eating healthy foods, including whole grains and lean sources of protein, that will raise your teen's energy level naturally. 

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