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Food and Nutrition Topics..

 
You are here : home > Food and Nutrition > Poor Eating Habits > Are Caffeinated Drinks and Food Safe for Kids?

Are Caffeinated Drinks and Foods Safe for Kids?


Caffeine consumed by kids through tea, coffee, colas, energy drinks, chocolates etc, can have ill effects on child’s health. Read on to know more about the effects of caffeine consumption on kid’s health and how to cut down caffeine from his or her diet.


Caffeine is widely available in common foods and beverages. You may not intend to serve your child a cup of coffee but may serve him or her colas and energy drinks that also contain caffeine.


Caffeine and Diet


Caffeine is present in coffee, tea, frozen coffee or iced tea drinks, cocoa, chocolate, frozen yogurt, sodas, and also in pain relievers and over-the-counter medicines. As a result, caffeine has found its way not only in adults but also into the eating habits of children, sometimes in excess. The effects of caffeine can be intense in your kid, so play it safe and cut the amount of caffeine your child takes in.


What Is Caffeine?


Caffeine is a drug naturally occurring in the leaves and seeds of many plants. It acts as a stimulant, increases heart rate, blood pressure, and makes you feel alert and energetic. Its impact also depends on the body weight of a person. As your child has lower body weight than adults, it does not take a lot of caffeine to impact on him or her and thus leading to intense results at times.


What Is the Recommended Intake?


Impact of caffeine depends on body weight of your kid, so based on that the maximum daily intake should be as per the following:
  • 45 mg for children aged 4-6

  • 62.5 mg for children aged 7-9

  • 85 mg for children aged 10-12

  • One can of cola provides the maximum caffeine intake for a preschooler kid.

How Caffeine Affects Children?

Caffeine affects kids and adults similarly, but its effects can be intense in kids.
  • Excessive caffeine in kids can cause nervousness, shakiness, headaches, anxiety, upset stomach, sleeplessness, increase heart rate and blood pressure, etc.

  • Kids are more likely to be obese if they consume more caffeine every day as caffeine contains empty calories.

  • Kids who consume more caffeine do not get the vitamins and minerals they need from other healthy sources. They may miss getting calcium from milk for strong bones and teeth if they are keener to consume sodas.

  • Kids drinking too much of sweetened caffeinated drinks are exposed to dental cavities or caries from the high sugar content and erosion of tooth enamel from the acidity.

  • Caffeine is a diuretic that causes the body to eliminate water, thus leading to dehydration in kids depending on the amount your kid is consuming.

  • Caffeine can also make it difficult for children to concentrate thus can affect his or her studies.

  • Caffeine can also expose many kids to the risk of heart problems or nervous disorders.

How to Cut Caffeine Out?

Cutting up caffeine is very easy. Keep track of how much caffeine your kid is consuming each day and cut it out slowly by substituting with better and healthy options. The best way is to lessen your kid’s intake of cold drinks and sodas. Instead, offer a lot of water, milk, fortified soy beverages, and natural fruit juices. You can occasionally serve coffee or tea, just make it non-caffeinated. Also, check the labels of food if they contain caffeine or not while you shop. Never give them energy drinks as they contain a lot of caffeine and sugar. Feel free to allow your kid to enjoy the chocolate cake at parties or a cup of hot cocoa in winter – just be cautious that your kid’s intake of caffeine is moderate.

Stopping caffeine suddenly can cause withdrawal symptoms like headaches, irritability, mood swings, temporary depression, muscle aches, etc. But do not worry, the energy levels will return to normal in just a few days. Always remember, when it comes to caffeine and kids, a little goes a long way; so limit the amount of caffeine to play it safe.


Why are caffeinated drinks and foods not safe for children?  How much tea, coffee, soda or cola is safe for a child? How to cut down caffeine from child’s diet? Discuss here.

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6 Comments
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Preeta.4 years ago
It is ok to give colas and chocolates occasionally to kids. However, it is not safe if they get addicted to it.
 
 
 
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Vidya.4 years ago
I think one cup of coffee or tea is ok for children who are above 5 years of their age.
 
 
 
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Arya.4 years ago
Certain amount of caffeine is ok. I wanted to know how many cups of tea or coffee is safe for kids 4 years of age.
 
 
 
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