Sodas. Kids love them, and, if you let them, will guzzle them down one sugary can at a time. However, as we all know, sodas really aren’t a good beverage choice for anyone, let along young, growing children. Not only are they loaded with empty calories and sugar, they can also lead to caffeine addiction, even in youngsters, and if consumed exclusively or too much can lead to obesity, reduced athletic performance, and dehydration, the last two of which are particularly dangerous for budding athletes.
That’s not to say that a soda every now and then, will harm your child, but too much or too much coupled with not enough water can prove disastrous. Don’t believe it? Read on to learn about some of the harmful effects excess soda consumption can have on young athletes:
Effect #1: Easy Weight Gain
The average can of soda has 160 calories, around the same amount of calories as a homemade sandwich or a bag of chips. That means that, a soda, in terms of calorie-count, is kind of like a mini-meal. And, while it’s true that young athletes burn a lot of calories, it’s still too easy, on three or four sodas a day coupled with regular food intake, to gain weight and even slide into obesity. If you want your young athlete to stay healthy and fit, limit his or her soda intake or, even better yet, eliminate it all together.
Effect #2: Energy Crashes
Soda contains sugar, and, as we all know, sugar consumption can lead to a nice sugar rush, a sudden uptick in energy. That energy burst might seem great right before a game or practice, but remember that a crash always follows. If you don’t want your young athlete to get winded in the middle of a game or suddenly feel like sleeping, rather than playing, cut the soda consumption!
Effect #3: Addiction
When most people think of addictions, they think of drugs, cigarettes, or other vices, and they think of adults. Unfortunately, though, kids can become addicts too. Drinking soda can easily become a dangerous and unhealthy obsession for children, and do you really want your little one to be an addict before adolescence? We didn’t think so; don’t get your kid reliant on caffeine this early in the game, or preferably ever!
Effect #4: Deadly Dehydration
To a little one, a soda might seem like it’s quenching thirst, but in truth, caffeine is actually very dehydrating. This can be devastating on young athletes, who already lose water at excessive rates, in many ways. It could lead to serious dehydration, which can be deadly or at least damaging to the body, or it could cause your young athlete to drink huge amounts of water in one go, which, believe it or not, can also be deadly and is more common in athletes than in others.
As you can see, soda is not a necessary or good addition to a young hockey player’s diet. For your child’s health, limit soda intake or cut it out altogether!