Cutting Caffeine in Your Child’s Diet

Do you wonder if it’s healthy for your kids to consume caffeine? Are you wondering how to cut back on all that soda or chocolate they are consuming? Truestar is here to give you all the information you need about caffeine so you can keep your kids healthy!

Effects of Caffeine
Caffeine is a drug that acts as a stimulant on the central nervous system. In both kids and adults, too much caffeine can cause jitteriness and nervousness, upset stomach, headaches, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping, increased heart rate and increased blood pressure. Caffeine is also a diuretic that causes the body to eliminate water (through urination), which may lead to dehydration. Also, drinking too many caffeinated beverages such as soda can add empty calories to your child’s diet as well as contribute to dental diseases.

Caffeine-Containing Foods and Beverages
Kids get most of their caffeine from sodas. However, caffeine is also found in chocolate, coffee, tea (iced or cold), coffee, ice cream, frozen yogurt, pain relievers and other over- the-counter medicines.

Here is a list of the caffeine content in foods and beverages:

Item Amount of Item Amount of Caffeine
Jolt soft drink 12 ounces 71.2 mg
Mountain Dew 12 ounces 55 mg
Coca-Cola 12 ounces 34 mg
Diet Coke 12 ounces 45 mg
Pepsi 12 ounces 38 mg
7-Up 12 ounces 0 mg
Brewed coffee 5 ounces 115 mg
Iced tea 12 ounces 70 mg
Dark chocolate 1 ounce 20 mg
Milk chocolate 1 ounce 6 mg
Cocoa beverage 5 ounces 4 mg
Chocolate milk 8 ounces 5 mg
Cold relief medication 1 tablet 30 mg

Source: US Food and Drug Administration and National Soft Drink Association

Caffeine Recommendations
The following is the recommended maximum caffeine intake levels for kids:

Children aged 4 to 6: 45 mg/day
Children aged 7 to 9: 62.5 mg/day
Children aged 10 to12: 85 mg/day

Cutting Back on Caffeine
Here are some tips on how to cut back caffeine in your child’s diet:
1. Replace caffeinated pop and beverages with natural fruit juices, water and milk (cow’s or soy). Be sure to cut back slowly so they do not experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches.
2. Save chocolate for an occasional treat. Give healthier snacks such as fruits and vegetables.
3. Be a good role model. If your kids see you drinking beverages containing caffeine, they will likely try to do the same. Have these drinks in moderation.
4. Buy decaffeinated teas and coffee.

Get your child on the Truestar Kids plan: nutrition, exercise, vitamins, sleep and attitude.