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Energy Drinks,Soda,Caffeinated Drinks and Their Effects

Energy Drinks,Soda,Caffeinated Drinks and Their Effects

My dear Aunt Hilda teaches in a Montessori and loves her kids and the job totally. I notice that Auntie Hilda who usually comes home with very funny stories of what the children said or did and other times, beautiful drawings done by the children , now comes back complaining. She complains the children are not as attentive as they were earlier, overly hyper, spill everything they hold, won’t sleep during siesta, jump on tables and just won’t stop talking. Her stories, activities and songs that have been her armor for these child bursts during her 15 years of teaching won’t help.

As she drives into school one morning, she sees a well-dressed mother in suit slip her child’s snack into his bag. That was the course of her nightmare with the children: Assorted brands of energy drinks,carbonated and caffeinated drinks!!. ‘How on earth could such a well-dressed woman not know that energy drinks and caffeinated drinks are harmful to the ward and make her work difficult?

Stop it! Stop it! Yohanne cannot have those. It is wrong! The mother has a puzzled look and Johann starts to cry as Auntie Hilda reaches for the drinks and hands them over to his mum. She reminds her of the upcoming P.T.A meeting and urges her to be there for answers to her reaction and more.

These are the reasons why Auntie Hilda behaved the way she did and why Yohanne’s mum should be careful of what she offers her child:

Caffeine is a drug because it stimulates the central nervous system. It makes people more alert and energetic. Too much caffeine or caffeine on a daily basis can cause headaches, difficulty sleeping, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, nervousness, difficulty concentrating, upset stomach and hyperactivity. These affect both adults but in children , these effects are produced faster.

Some more reasons  to limit or avoid caffeine in what children consume are:

  • Children who consume one or more 12-ounce (355-milliliter) sweetened soft drink per day are 60% more likely to be obese. Soft drinks usually contain caffeine.
  • Caffeinated beverages often contain calories that don’t provide any nutrients (empty calories). Children who fill up on them don’t get the vitamins and minerals they need from healthy sources. This puts them at the risk  of acquiring  nutritional deficiency related diseases. Children who drink too much soda/soft drinks between nursery and primary 3 may miss the calcium they need from milk to build strong bones and teeth.
  • Drinking too many sweetened caffeinated drinks could lead to dental cavities popularly called ‘kaka’ in Ghana. This is as a result of the high sugar content and the erosion of tooth enamel from acidity.
  • It is wise to avoid excessive caffeine consumption in hot weather, a time when children need to replace water lost through sweating. Caffeine is a diuretic that causes the body to eliminate water and contribute to dehydration. In Ghana , where it is usually sunny and hot, soft drinks are not the drinks to consume.

After giving all these details at the P.T.A meeting, Yohanne’s mum walks up to Auntie Hilda to thank her and pledge that she will never give her child or any other child drinks with soda or caffeine. Auntie Hilda smiles and gives her this advice.

‘Stopping suddenly will cause withdrawal symptoms like headaches, muscle aches, temporary depression, and irritability especially for children who are used to consuming a lot of it. So reduce it gradually and finally stop it’.

Auntie Hilda now comes back home with smiles to satisfy our itchy ears with the day’s fun story.

November 27, 2019

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