Teens, on average, consume a lot of drinks that contain caffeine. A study found that although 17- and 18-year-olds were drinking less soda in 2014 than they did 11 years before, they were possibly replacing soda with coffee and energy drinks (sometimes also known as sports drinks). In fact, these teens were drinking almost double the amount of caffeine from coffee and energy drinks compared with what they consumed 11 years earlier.
Since consuming a lot of caffeine can affect your health, it’s a good idea to know as much as you can about these drinks. Test your knowledge on coffee and energy drinks by answering the following questions; then check the answers, located below the questions.
- On average, teens consume more calories per day from:
- Drinks with caffeine
- “Grain” desserts (cookies, cake, brownies, etc.)
- True or false: Consuming large amounts of caffeine can increase your heart rate, blood pressure, and anxiety level.
- True or false: Drinking coffee, soda, and energy drinks can stunt your growth.
- How many teens in grades 9 and 10 drink beverages with caffeine every day?
- More than 5 percent
- More than 11 percent
- More than 25 percent
- True or false: Most energy drinks contain large amounts of caffeine, but they don’t contain much sugar.
- True or false: Having lots of caffeine can prevent you from getting all the sleep you need for your brain and body to develop in a healthy way.
- Doctors recommend that teens consume no more than _______ a day.
- three cups of brewed coffee, or two cans of soda, or two energy drinks
- two cups of brewed coffee, or one can of soda, or one energy drink
- one cup of brewed coffee, or less than half a can of soda, or about half of a typical energy drink
- A. Drinks with caffeine. On average, teens consume more calories from coffee, caffeinated soda, and caffeinated energy drinks (226 calories per day) than from pizza (213 calories per day) or “grain” desserts (138 calories per day).
- True. Because caffeine is a stimulant, consuming large amounts of it can increase your heart rate, blood pressure, and anxiety level—even more for teens than for children.
- False. A study involving 81 teen girls found no effect of high caffeine intake on bone health or bone growth. A review of many studies on the subject found the same thing for both males and females. (People in the studies who drank high amounts of caffeine did consume slightly less calcium—which helps bones stay healthy—than people who drank little or no caffeine. But researchers believe that’s probably because heavy coffee drinkers are substituting coffee for milk. And consuming just 1 or 2 tablespoons of milk a day, either in your coffee or separately, makes up for the difference.)
- B. More than 11 percent. A study discovered that 11.4 percent of teens consumed a caffeinated beverage every day, and 44.6 percent of teens in grades 9 and 10 drank caffeinated beverages one to six times per week. Only 4.8 percent never consumed drinks containing caffeine.
- False. Most energy drinks contain a lot of sugar—in some cases, even more of it than soda has!—in addition to the caffeine.
- True. Caffeine blocks a brain chemical that causes you to feel sleepy. Getting too little sleep can make it difficult for you to concentrate and learn. In fact, neuroscientists think sleep is a critical time during which our brains make sure that the things we’ve learned during the day stick in our memory.
- C. One cup of brewed coffee, or less than half a can of soda, or about half of a typical energy drink. Doctors recommend that teens consume no more than 110 milligrams of caffeine a day, which translates roughly into these amounts of the different drinks. And of course, it’s fine to consume less than these amounts, or to consume no caffeine at all.
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