Gaming drinks are all the rage right now. But what are they? And should you encourage gamers- especially younger ones- to drink them?
Have you heard of Ghost Gamer? What about G Fuel? Gamer Fuel? Rogue Energy? Bang? Chances are your kids have, especially if they are gamers. These drinks, often marketed to kids as “gaming fuel,” are all the rage on sites such as YouTube and TikTok. My daughter first wanted to try Bang because someone sent her a TikTok video featuring the sweet, bubbly beverage and she just “had to know” what it tasted like. She said “Mom, the tag line literally says potent energy and body fuel, so I don’t know why you wouldn’t want me to try it.” Her relationship with both Bang and TikTok were incredibly short-lived because, as it turns out, 12 year-olds don’t need either one of these things to be healthy, successful humans.
But like energy drinks or loathe them, they are being marketed these days to younger audiences on a variety of social media and gaming platforms and touted as “brain fuel” or “gaming fuel.” Many of them have added vitamins and nutrients and also lack sugar as a sweetener, leading young, impressionable minds to believe these drinks are food for them. But just because they contain no sugar and are “vitamin-enhanced,” does that mean they are okay to drink?
Gaming Drinks: What you need to know
What are they?
They are drinks that are thought to enhance your mental performance as you game. Often containing vitamins and nutrients meant to help gamers stay alert and focused, gaming drinks are not dissimilar from energy beverages. They might contain herbal extracts, amino acids, B vitamins and other ingredients, in addition to large amounts of caffeine and either sugar or a sugar substitute, that are thought to help with brain function. They help reduce sleepiness and increase energy levels and sometimes your mood, as well.
Why do gamers need gaming drinks?
Just like an athlete needs to properly fuel their body before engaging in strenuous activity, a gamer needs to fuel their body, as well. However, a gamer doesn’t have the same dietary needs as, say, a runner or a football player. A gaming drink is meant to fuel a gamer’s mind and increase mental alertness, which can help a gamer perform better on screen by having quicker reaction times and better cognitive thinking.
Where can I buy them?
You can purchase gaming drinks online or in stores. From Amazon to your local grocery store, they are becoming more and more available. What types of gaming drinks are on the market? Popular gaming drinks right now are available in primarily two different forms: liquid and powder.
Liquid gaming drinks
These drinks typically come in a single-serve container and be purchased chilled or at room temperature (although are typically better tasting when cold). They can be carbonated or non-carbonated and come in a variety of flavors. Different brands use different types of sweeteners as well as include various different vitamins and nutrients. These drinks will typically cost between $2-$5 per can.
Powder gaming drinks
Powder gaming drinks are also popular and enable you to sort of customize your drink. You can purchase a tub of powder and then mix the powder with water to make a drink. You can dilute it for slightly less flavor or add a bit more powder for a stronger flavor. Drinks purchased in powder format are typically better for the environment because they produce less waste, and they often cost less per serving. Gaming drinks powder containers usually start around $20 and go up from there and include multiple servings.
Are They Safe for Kids?
Gaming drinks are all the rage with gamers… But does that make them okay for kids? According to this article from the New York Times… Not really. But, like with anything, gaming drinks might be okay if consumed in moderation. A drink or two every few weeks probably won’t hurt. But consuming gaming drinks regularly is probably not advisable, especially for younger kids.
Even if they contain zero sugar, that doesn’t mean gaming drinks are healthy. Part of what makes gaming drinks popular is the mental alertness they lend their consumers, and that mental kick comes from caffeine and B vitamins. Most energy drinks contain as much caffeine as coffee and sometimes more. Combined with B vitamins, these drinks can give you quite a kick, so they it is not advisable to drink them after 4 or 5 p.m. because they could potentially disrupt your sleep.
But kids younger than 12 years should get less than 100 mg of caffeine daily, which is less than the amount of caffeine in one can or serving of a gaming drink. Experts suggest that teenagers can have about 100 mg of caffeine per day, which, again, is less than the amount of caffeine in a typical gaming drink.
While gaming has many benefits for kids (and adults!), getting addicted to caffeinated “gaming drinks” isn’t one of them. A gaming drink should be used as an infrequent reward rather than something heavily relied upon to enhance gaming (remember- caffeine is addictive. Ask any parent who can’t start their morning with a cup of coffee or two!). Encourage your kid to game for all the benefits it brings but to mostly stick to water to fuel their on-screen performance!