Parents: Soda Isn’t the Only Drink That’s Unhealthy for Children

When asked to name a drink that’s packed with sugar, most people would instantly say soda. But while that’s correct, many parents may not realize that a can of cola isn’t the only beverage packed with sweeteners. And that misconception is one of the reasons why children are consuming larger and larger amounts of sugary beverages.

Juice, for example, has a much healthier reputation than soda, but it contains around the same amount of calories as pop and loads of sugar. Then there are kid-friendly fruit drinks, sports drinks and flavored waters. Those options may seem healthier as well, but they too are packed with sugar. All of these beverages make up what some researchers refer to as “liquid candy,” since they contain anywhere from five to 12 teaspoons of sugar per serving.

The confusion stems from the way these beverages are marketed. Anybody glancing at the label would see terms like “real” and “natural” and assume they must be healthy. But oftentimes these are marketing terms and the real data is on the back of the label, where you can see how much sugar is in a serving.

All of this leads to a big health concern: Research shows that sugar consumption is off the charts and is one of the reasons childhood obesity is such a problem. These days children and teens consume more than twice the recommended amount of sugar (equaling 10 percent of their total daily calories). What’s a parent to do? Try not to be fooled by the labels and don’t buy your kids sugary drinks. Instead, consider serving mostly water and milk, as these are the best choices.

Check out these blogs for even more ways to help kids make healthier choices:


Photo credit: Andrew Seaman

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