Kids getting caffeine hit from gum
The energy drink industry makes billions a year by targeting teens and twenty-somethings with promises of legal “highs”, increased energy and weight loss.
They’ve now added “energy gum” to their products, including “Rockstar Energy Gum.” At issue is that the gum is loaded with 40 mg of caffeine per piece, in addition to Vitamin B and Taurine.
“Someone with a health problem such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, thyroid problems, gastric reflux disease or irritable bowel syndrome can be adversely affected by using these energy chewing gum products,” said Silver Springs school nurse, Donna Ray, RN.
“The fact that kids are sharing this gum with other kids, and that they are chewing multiple pieces at a time, and that the chemicals enter the blood stream in high numbers and rapidly, may result in serious acute health problems for kids.”
Judging from reports of use among children and teens, this product seems to have appeal to an even younger group than the energy drink. It doesn’t take much imagination to picture the effects a few pieces of this gum might have on a 9-year-old or a 14-year-old.
Because one would not expect chewing gum to contain any caffeine, let alone 40 mg per piece, parents may not immediately notice that their children and teens are in fact using caffeine products when they use energy chewing gum.
To compare the energy gum to other sources of caffeine, a can of Coke classic has about 34 mg. of caffeine, while Starbucks Tall Cappacino has about 75mg, Amp Green Tea has about 155, and Arizona Caution Energy Drink has 200 mg,
Nutritionists warn that the high-caffeine energy drinks or energy gum can hook kids on a “jolt-and-crash cycle”. The energy gum includes hefty doses of B Vitamins and Taurine as well, which when combined with caffeine can cause anxiety, irritability, rapid heartbeat, and numbness and tingling in the hands and feet in some people.