Paediatricians recommend avoiding sports & energy drinks


 Sports and caffeinated energy drinks can pose serious health risks to children and youth and should be avoided, according to a new position statement from the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS). 

“For most children and youth, sports drinks are unnecessary,” said Dr. Catherine Pound, co-author of the statement and a paediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. “Energy drinks are unnecessary at best and dangerous at worst. Doctors should counsel patients and their families about the potential risks and side effects of using these beverages and should screen routinely for their use.”

Caffeinated energy drinks claim to boost energy, reduce fatigue and improve concentration. The amount of caffeine typically exceeds Health Canada’s maximum daily intake for kids. When mixed with alcohol, these drinks can be especially dangerous. Among university students, studies have shown an association with risk-taking behaviours such as drug use.  

Sports drinks, which contain a mixture of sugars and electrolytes, are often marketed as fluid replacements during sports or vigorous physical activity.

“Sports and caffeinated energy drinks may contribute to obesity and dental cavities in children and adolescents,” said Becky Blair, co-author of the statement and a member of Dietitians of Canada. “When it comes to staying hydrated, water is the best choice for kids.”

Because of the dangers associated with caffeinated energy drinks, the CPS is also advocating for legislation to prevent their marketing to youth.

The CPS position statement was reviewed and endorsed by Dietitians of Canada. 

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