You give your child a glass of juice at breakfast and another one at snacktime, a bottle of iced tea at lunch and an on-the-run dinner comes with soda. All of a sudden, without taking one bite of food, your child has consumed 600 calories. No wonder so many children are overweight or obese!
Sweetened drinks have come under close scrutiny in recent years, as childhood obesity rates have spiraled out of control. These weight problems set our kids up for high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes down the road.
Drinks such as soda and fruit juice are the main source of added sugar in children’s diets. The main ingredient in many of these drinks is high fructose corn syrup. What’s so bad about a little sweetener? Consider these concerns:
- Each can of soda consumed daily has been linked to a 60 percent increase in obesity risk.
- Up to 85 percent of school-age children drink at least one soda a day.
- Sugary drinks may take the place of milk in children’s diets, leading to low calcium levels and an increased risk of bone fractures—not to mention what they can do to teeth.
The solution? Give your child plenty of water and nonfat milk, and when you do allow juice, dilute it with water.