We’ve all heard the age-old saying that caffeine stunts your growth and sage parents probably don’t allow kids to drink coffee until they reach a certain age. And while everybody is aware of the presence of caffeine in foods that even your kids eat, it is easy to unknowingly eat more than you should.
Kids may not drink coffee, but they sure like their sodas. While not as high in caffeine as a venti iced-latte, how much caffeine is in soda and how much should your child be having? Canadian health guidelines suggest a limit of 45 mg for kids aged 4- to 6- year-olds, 62.5 mg for 7- to 9- year-olds, and 85 mg for 10- to 12- year-olds. Which means that drinking two cans of coke (at 35 mg of caffeine/can) is far too much for kids under 10. For families where soda is a regular mealtime companion, this might be something to think about.
Whether caffeine has any significant impact on height, it can definitely cause fidgety behavior and other side effects that heavy coffee-drinkers surely know about – and young kids are particularly sensitive. Also, drinking sugar-laden sodas may lead to cavities and higher risk of obesity. Opting for soda rather than juice or milk means filling up on empty calories instead of much-needed vitamins and calcium.
But wait! Substituting sodas with something like iced tea may seem like a good idea (especially with today’s tea crazes), but actually the levels of sugar and caffeine are about the same. So, what’s to be done? There seems to be no other way around it but to limit caffeine intake. Serve 100 % fruit juices, milk, or water at meals and look at the ingredients content of your kid’s snacks. If your kids demand soda, try the non-caffeinated variety. Be conscious of how many cans they have had. And they will be on their way to building stronger bones and healthier habits.
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