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Junk food, energy drinks pose risks to teens
January 4, 2018, 4:25 pm

Teens, who are at an age when later stages of brain development take place, are at severe risk if they consume too much of energy drinks and junk food, says a new study on the subject. Researchers at Northern Kentucky University in the US, found that not only is the rise in energy drink consumption among teens alarming, but so are animal studies showing its effects on brain development. Findings from the study on adolescent and young adult mice exposed to high taurine levels (similar to that found in many energy drinks) indicated there were adverse effects on learning and memory. Another study that examined the impact of junk food — defined as ‘highly palatable and rewarding, but nutritionally poor’ food — found it to be bad not only for waist lines but also for teen brains.

“ Key neurotransmitter systems in the brain responsible for inhibition and reward signaling are still developing during the teen years. Excessive consumption of junk food could negatively affect decision making, increase reward-seeking behavior and influence poor eating habits throughout adulthood,” said the research team. One piece of good news is that exercise could help steer teens away from junk foods. The study found that regular exercises could prevent long-term effects of over indulgence in energy drinks and junk foods, but sadly, the majority of teens today are not exercising enough.

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