Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant and restores mental alertness. It is used as an additive in many foods as well as certain drugs to increase their effectiveness. Caffeine is found naturally in coffee and tea. It is also added to soft drinks, energy drinks, and certain foods such as cakes and chocolates to improve their flavour. As caffeine is present in many foods, it is impossible to avoid consuming it. According to the article titled ‘Caffeine’ in kidshealth.org, ‘Teens usually get most of their caffeine from soft drinks and energy drinks. (In addition to caffeine, these also can have added sugar and artificial flavors.) Caffeine is not stored in the body, but you may feel its effects for up to 6 hours’.
Children consume caffeine when they drink soda or energy drinks, or eats foods such as chocolates or cakes. Children who regularly consume caffeine develop a sensitivity to it. According to an article in health.com, ‘Caffeine can cause physical dependence. If your kid is hooked and tries to kick the habit, he or she may experience full-blown withdrawal symptoms for up to 10 days, including headache, sleepiness or insomnia, irritability, lethargy, constipation, and/or depression.’ Caffeine also causes the body to lose calcium and can lead to bone loss.
Due to its many side effects, it is important for parents to educate themselves and their children about the risks of caffeine and how to avoid it. If your child is addicted to caffeine, stopping it abruptly can cause withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, caffeine should be reduced gradually over a period of time until it reaches zero. Once caffeine consumption has reached zero, stop buying products that contain caffeine.
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Caffeine is naturally produced in the leaves and seeds of many plants. It's also produced artificially. Caffeine is defined as a drug because it stimulates the central nervous system, causing increased alertness.
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