Scientists recently discovered an unsettling connection between sports and energy drinks and teenagers. There appears to be a pretty strong link between consumption of the beverage to bad behavior, according to a recent research study published in the Journal of Nutritional Education and Behavior. And while it may not be a surprise that kids hopped up on caffeine might misbehave more than those who stay clear of Redbull and the like, the same trend applies to sports drinks, which were used by about 33-percent of the teens polled.
What, exactly, are kids who drink these beverages up to? The researchers concluded that both male and female teenagers who consume a high number of sports and energy drinks each week are more likely to smoke, drink other worse-for-you beverages, and actually spend more time in front of the computer or television.
Could Gatorade be the gateway drug for more bad behavior?
Scientists suspect the connection derives from the addictive properties of sugary and energy drinks. Kids and adults who find themselves drawn to sugary substances may just as easily get hooked on substances that are even worse.
The kids who chugged sports drinks were more physically active than their counterparts, but most weren’t active enough to actually need a sports drink to aid recovery. As a reminder, sports drinks were created to replenish nutrients and electrolytes in athletes who push their bodies for hours on end. Water should be just fine for high school level athletes with the exception of things like long football practices on 100-degree days.
Additionally, sugary beverages have been linked to the growing obesity epidemic. It’s easy to accidentally consume 100s of extra calories each day through sweetened beverages, whether they’re sodas, sports drinks, or energy drinks.