Posts Tagged ‘kids’

Chocolate Part Two

Okay, this week we’re going to look at caffeine. I know most of you wouldn’t dream of giving your kids those caffeine-filled energy drinks. But, I have to say that I’ve personally seen, on more than one occasion, very young children drinking from cans of energy drinks, such as Redbull and Monster. And, recent research from the European Food Safety Agency suggested that ‘more than two-thirds of the UK’s 10 to 18-year-olds have drunk high-caffeine energy drinks’.

That’s a very worrying trend, especially when you consider the effects of this powerful stimulant and the amounts contained in those drinks. According to the Food Standards Agency there can be as much as ‘80 milligrams (mg) of caffeine in a small 250ml can’ – to put that in perspective, that’s the equivalent of three cans of coke!

The Effects of Caffeine on Kids

And, you really don’t want the effects of too much of this stuff. It can ‘can cause difficulty concentrating and sleeping’ and result in an ‘increased heart rate’, as well as causing a plethora of other nasty symptoms – here’s a comprehensive list. You can see where this is going, right? You’re going to end up with a lot of hyper-active, and probably difficult to control, children.

Guidelines on Caffeine Intake for Kids

So, what are the guidelines for caffeine intake in children? Once again, they are very vague, with an amount detailed for under 16s only and, surprisingly, they are set by the industry themselves. Those guidelines state that a child should not ‘consume drinks with a caffeine level of 150mg per litre or more‘. Personally, I think that the amount a 16 year old could handle is probably considerably higher than a child of three or four years old. In fact, the Canadian authorities have advised that ‘preschoolers get no more than 45 milligrams of caffeine a day’

It’s also worth noting that caffeine is addictive, so it’s better to limit consumption early on, to prevent problems later.

What about chocolate? Sadly, it seems really difficult to find out how much caffeine is in chocolate. Why? Because of the differing recipes that are used. Once again, we need to work it out and I’m going to use the Cadbury Creme Egg as an example. It weighs 39g and, according to the USDA, the average amount of caffeine in milk chocolate is 20mg per 100g. Now, a Crème Egg also contains fondant, it’s approximately half the weight, so if we take that into account it that means that one Cadbury Crème Egg contains 3.9mg of caffeine. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s easy to see how that amount can easily add up over the day if other chocolate or soft drinks are being consumed. It’s also worth noting that caffeine is used by the food and drink industry in a number of products as a flavouring too, so it’d be a wise idea to check the labels for hidden amounts.

Right, those are the facts I can find. What you choose to do with them is up to you, but my advice would be to limit the amount of chocolate they have this Easter and use some of these healthier and, frankly way cuter, ideas by Fooducate instead.

Enjoy!

Written by