Kids are asking about, and evening selling to one another, a drink called Prime. But, is Prime good for kids?
Preteens and teens all over the nation are drinking a beverage called Prime. It’s a sports drink designed to boost hydration and energy levels.
It’s become so popular, kids are selling it to each other at school, and some schools have taken measures to ban it.
In fact, countries like Australia and New Zealand have banned Prime drink due to its questionable ingredients.
Prime is marketed as a sports hydration drink.
Even though we’ve got Gatorade, Powerade, and other kinds of sports drinks and vitamin waters, Prime Drink has taken kids by storm.
In fact, as a dietitian who works with child and teen athletes, I’ve not seen any sports nutrition product capture the attention of kids and teens quite like Prime.
What is Prime?
The founders of Prime, popular YouTubers KSI and Logan Paul, promote Prime drinks regularly but the company Congo Brands is the primary owner.
Prime makes three main products: Prime Hydration Drink, Prime Energy Drink, and Prime Hydration Plus sticks (a powder that’s added to water).
Prime Hydration Drink
Prime Hydration is a flat coconut water-based beverage, with added branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) and vitamins.
The company itself says that this drink should not be used in children under 15.
Prime Energy Drink
Prime Energy is a carbonated beverage. It contains about 200 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce can.
Prime Hydration Plus (powder sticks)
These are sticks of powdered Prime Hydration which you can mix with water.
3 Things You Should Know About Prime Drinks
There’s a few things to think about when it comes to the range of Prime drinks: caffeine, branch chain amino acids, and sucralose.
Caffeine in Prime Energy Drink
The caffeine content is the biggest concern to me about Prime Energy.
Unlike a typical sports drink that is designed to replace electrolytes lost in sweat and prevent dehydration, Prime Energy has a caffeine content of more than two and a half cans of Red Bull.
That’s 200 milligrams of caffeine in a 12-ounce can.
The limits for kids are well below this amount.
Prime Energy states on the label that the beverage is not suitable for children under 18.
The Downsides of Too Much Caffeine for Kids
For children, too much caffeine is no good.
It can cause a host of problems in kids such as dehydration, heart palpitations, irregular heartbeat, anxiety, and poor sleep.
Want to know the caffeine limits for children? Read: How Much Caffeine is Too Much for a Child?
Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) in Prime
There are 250 mg of BCAAs in each serving of Prime Drink. They are listed on the label as L-isoleucine, L-leucine, and L-valine.
I think the presence of branch chain amino acids creates a false sense of value.
Marketing BCAAs as a benefit may lead you to think your child needs them, or they have some extra special benefit for your child.
They do not.
Theoretically, BCAAs are protein-building blocks and are thought to help individuals build more muscle.
But in the average person, who eats a diet with enough protein, there’s a very limited effect, according to research.
Especially if children are pre-pubescent.
Besides, these are amino acids that naturally occur in poultry, meat, fish and milk.
Curious about puberty and muscle building? Read: 7 Tips for a Healthy Growth Spurt
Sucralose in Prime Drinks
Sucralose is a non-calorie sweetener, like aspartame and saccharin.
Splenda is the most common form of sucralose. It’s 600 times sweeter than sugar, and the FDA and other organizations regard it as safe for children.
But some experts are concerned. They say sucralose may change the gut microbiome.
But a panel of 200 experts found that data on the effects of low-calorie sweeteners on the human gut microbiota are limited and do not provide enough evidence of an impact on gut health at doses that are relevant to human consumption.
Is Prime Okay for Kids?
Although your child might be asking for Prime because it’s a popular beverage among kids, Prime doesn’t pan out as something that’s actually needed for your child.
Water will suffice for most kids.
If you have a very active kid, or one who is participating in regular intensive exercise lasting more than an hour, then you can consider a rehydration drink, such as Prime Hydration without the caffeine.
One warning, however.
Both Prime Hydration and Prime Energy look VERY similar in their packaging.
Read the labels and teach your child to do the same so there are no mistakes with accidentally consuming Prime Energy.