Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Moon. Moon Wonders, “Why is it bad for children to drink energy drinks?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Moon!

Exhausted. Burnt out. Stressed. Tired. Do any of these words describe you?

From time to time, these words apply to all of us. Adults have kids to raise, jobs to do, and many other parts of life to figure out. Kids have their own struggles. They have homework, sports, extracurricular activities, and friends. There are plenty of things to make the average child tired or stressed out, occasionally.

So, what do you do when you’re feeling a bit run down? More and more, today’s kids are reaching for energy drinks.

With clever names and slick marketing, these drinks promise a quick recharge of the batteries. But do they really work? And are they healthy?

Unfortunately, most energy drinks deliver only a big dose of sugar and caffeine. As you probably already know, too much sugar can be a very bad thing. It can lead to many health problems.

But what about caffeine? How much do energy drinks have? Believe it or not, some energy drinks have as much caffeine as three or more cups of coffee!

Caffeine is a natural chemical that acts as a stimulant. This means it causes your heart to pump faster and your breathing to quicken. It makes you feel more awake and alert.

People who drink caffeine every day often start to depend on it. If they go without caffeine for a long time, they may get a headache. They may also have a stomach ache and feel tired or irritated.

Caffeine is not a nutrient, though. You don’t need any caffeine to be healthy. In fact, too much of it in kids can have negative effects. It can make you feel hyper, nervous, or jumpy. When you feel hyper, you may also have trouble concentrating or paying attention.

Too much caffeine, especially late in the day, can interfere with your sleep. This can make you more tired the following day. Excessive caffeine has also been linked to more serious health problems. This includes irregular heartbeats, high blood pressure, hallucinations, and seizures.

Doctors recommend that kids stick with water or juices to stay hydrated. Children who exercise a lot may also benefit from specialty sports drinks or vitamin waters. These drinks differ from energy drinks. They have extra vitamins and nutrients that athletes need to replenish their bodies—not just extra sugar and caffeine.

So, if you need to recharge your batteries, steer clear of energy drinks. There are too many health risks associated with them. You’ll most likely end up feeling more burnt out when it wears off than you did to start with!

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.W.4

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