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Sugary Drinks are not so Sweet

By Dr. Joey Shulman D.C., RNCP

Children are consuming more sweetened drinks in the form of soda and sugary juices than ever before. Unfortunately, it is evident that this trend is one of the major contributing factors to the growing number of overweight and obese children. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) now estimates there are approximately 17.6 million overweight children under the age of five!

A recent study appearing in the Journal of Pediatrics from Cornell University found that children who drank more than 12 ounces of sweetened drinks a day gained significantly more weight over a two-month period than children who drank less than 6 ounces a day. Sweet drinks were defined as soda or pop, fruit punch, bottled teas or drinks made from fruit-flavored powders such as grape or lemonade. The study concluded that:

  • Children who drank sweetened drinks consumed 244 more calories a day than children who did not drink sweetened drinks; 
  • Over the two-month span of the study, the children who drank more than 16 ounces of sweetened beverages gained 2.5 pounds whereas children who drank between 6 and 16 ounces of sweetened beverages gained only 0.7 to 1 pound;
  • Children did not consume fewer calories at mealtime even though they were consuming excess calories in the form of sugary liquid.

Water in, Soda out!
The average can of pop contains between 9 and 11 teaspoons of sugar. In children, soft drink consumption has doubled in the past 25 years. It is estimated that the average child consumes a whopping 29 teaspoons of added refined sugar per day. Cutting excess calories by changing a child’s beverages is one of the easiest approaches for weight loss success. Try implementing the following steps in your home:

1. Avoid sugary juices. Have your child eat the fruit and drink the water! If your child desires the occasional fruit juice, make sure it comes from natural juices and dilute it with water (1/4 juice, ¾ water).

2. Save soda for the occasional treat (e.g. birthday parties, vacations, etc.).

3. Pack small bottles of fresh, clean water in your child’s lunchbox.

4. Invest in a water system in your home. Doing so will encourage the entire family to drink more water.

5. Do not replace regular soda with diet soda when eliminating soda from your child’s diet. The aspartame in diet drinks can be much more hazardous to your child’s health.



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