Both teens and children increasingly are sipping Starbucks, enjoying energy drinks and cracking open a bottle of cola to boost their energy. Now a new study is warning that all that caffeine may be slowing their brain development, reported the Daily Mail on September 25.
Because those beverages interfere with sleeping soundly, caffeine harms developing brains, said the scientists who conducted the new study. And that interference could result in problems ranging from drug addiction to anxiety to personality disorders.
At the same time, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has issued a statement opposing free samples of high-energy drinks to children, reported MedPage Today on September 25. The AAFP plans to work with the FDA to establish definitions for energy drinks.
Both the scientists who conducted the new study and the AAFP emphasize that sources of caffeine, whether from sodas or from energy drinks, should not be part of the diets of growing kids and teens. However, the AAFP refrained from banning the sale of energy drinks to children under age 16, despite a push for such a ban from the AAFP New York chapter.
"The need to establish a clear definition of stimulant drinks was most important," announced the AAFP Reference Committee on Health of the Public and Science. As part of that, the AAFP now opposes free samples, coupons, or discounted stimulant drinks to children under age 18.
"There's a concern about them," outgoing AAFP President Jeffrey Cain, MD, told MedPage Today.
Meanwhile, the FDA is analyzing just how safe those high caffeine drinks are for both small folks and large ones. Despite the soaring popularity of beverages such as Monster, Rockstar, and Red Bull, Michael Taylor, JD, deputy commissioner for foods at the FDA, says that they are working on determining the safety.
And the scientists who conducted that caffeine study noted that caffeine consumption among young adults has skyrocketed by more than 70 percent during the last 30 years. Their research indicated that one large bottle of cola or three cans of energy drinks are enough to adversely impact the brains of young adults and kids.