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Eating Chocolates Leads to Dysphoria in Children

Lai Rouyin, attending doctor of Children and Adolescent Psychiatry Department in the Songde Branch of Taipei City Hospital, points out that the metabolic half-time of caffeine is about 3-7 hours for normal healthy adults, and the metabolic rate of caffeine in children is much lower than it is for adults, with the half-time even reaching over 30 hours in newborns. Therefore, children below 12 years old shall avoid the intake of caffeine (coffee, chocolate, coke, tea, etc.).

Caffeine can stimulate the central nervous system and influence sleeping; babies can take in caffeine from the breast milk, become restless and cry more easily, so mothers of the new-born babies should pay special attention.

3 or 4 year old children may have dysphoria and sleep disorders, as these children are experiencing separation anxiety and establishing the sense of security at this stage. Eating chocolate can make them even more excited and restless.

Too much chocolate could also lead to the feeling of satiation easily, which will influence the appetite for main meals and consequently lead to an imbalanced diet, make the children with weaker caffeine and cacaine metabolism restless and affect their sleeping, memory and learning.

Dr. Lai emphasizes that the physical and mental development of children should start from the dietary habits, and parents shall avoid stocking too many snacks at home; instead, select the snacks carefully in order to provide balanced nutrition for children’s growth and development.