Rethink Your Drink
What’s in a typical 20 oz bottle of soda?
- Serving Size: A 20 oz soda bottle has 2.5 servings. It’s important to look at the Nutrition Facts (right) for the package, not just a single serving, if drinking the entire bottle. A standard serving size is 8 oz.
- Calories: There are 100 calories in one serving and 250 in the bottle. These calories have no nutritional value.
- Sugars: It’s easier to figure out how much sugar is in a drink by changing the grams to teaspoons. Divide the total sugar grams by four (4) to get an approximate number of teaspoons. This bottle contains about 17 teaspoons of sugar (69÷4).
- Ingredients: In this beverage, the main ingredient after water is high fructose corn syrup. Other common names for sugars are cane syrup, sucrose, and dextrose.
Sugary Drinks and Your Child’s Health
- Drinking a 20-ounce (oz) bottle of soda every day can lead to about 25 extra pounds of weight gain a year.
- To burn off the additional 250 calories in a 20 oz bottle of soda, you would have to walk briskly for approximately 60 minutes. Choosing healthier drinks is an essential step in maintaining a healthy weight and helping to reverse the obesity epidemic.
- Sugary drinks are a major contributor to obesity in youth and adults, which can result in the development of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
- In California, 60.7 percent of adults are overweight and 24 percent are obese. Among California’s children ages 2 to 4, 16 percent are overweight and 17 percent are obese.
- The obesity epidemic is affecting our wallets; obesity–related health costs in the United States are estimated at $147 billion annually.
Say No to Soda, Yes to Healthy Drinks
Sodas are sweet, sparkling and tasty — but don’t confuse them with a healthy drink. Doctors have discovered a ton of health risks connected with drinking soda pop. Worse, you’re robbing yourself of a healthy drink alternative brimming with needed vitamins and minerals every time you chug down a soft drink.
“If you’re choosing a soda, chances are you aren’t choosing a healthy beverage,” says Keri M. Gans, a nutrition consultant in New York City and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. There are a number of healthy drink choices you can make instead.
Why Say No to Soda?
- Soda is truly worthless to your body. “In my opinion, there’s really one major reason to not drink soda,” Gans says. “It has absolutely no nutritional value. Soda is filled with sugar and calories and nothing else.” Even diet sodas — low to no calories and sugar — don’t have any redeeming virtues, nutritionally. Healthy drinks, on the other hand, have vitamins and minerals the body can use. Even plain water can rehydrate your body without adding extra calories to your diet.
- Sugary sodas contribute to obesity and diabetes. Soda is loaded with high-fructose corn syrup, a sweetener that has been linked to obesity. Soda consumption also has been linked to the development of type 2 diabetes, both due to its sugar content and its effects on the body’s hormones. And diet soda? It may not be any better. At least one study has linked artificial sweeteners, such as those used in diet sodas, to increased appetite, greater difficulty losing weight, and a harder time maintaining weight loss.
- Soda damages your teeth. The sugar in soda coats your teeth, combining with bacteria in your mouth to form acid. Both regular and diet soda also contain carbolic acid through carbonation. These acids work to weaken tooth enamel, causing cavities and tooth decay.
- Drinking soda can weaken your bones. Most sodas contain phosphorous and caffeine, agents that are believed to contribute to osteoporosis. Experts also worry that people consume soda in place of milk or other healthy drinks, depriving the bones of calcium.
- Soda can harm your major organs. Research has demonstrated that increased soft drink consumption may be linked to chronic kidney disease, development of metabolic syndrome (a group of symptoms that add up to increased heart risk), and fatty liver, a chronic liver disease.
Healthy Drink Alternatives
Luckily, there are limitless options when choosing a healthy drink over a soda pop. Some soda alternatives include:
- Water. It is the ultimate healthy drink. “It’s free in every sense of the word,” Gans says. “It has no calories and it comes straight from your tap.”
- Fruit juice. Gans urges you not to drink straight fruit juice, which contains a lot of sugar. “Drink some seltzer with a splash of juice for a little flavoring,” she says. “Rather than drinking juice, eat a piece of whole fruit. You’re also getting the fiber in the fruit.”
- Milk. This is another essential healthy drink, particularly for kids. “An 8-ounce glass of nonfat milk has 80 calories and nine essential nutrients,” Gans says. “You get a lot of bang for your buck.”
- Tea. Whatever teas you prefer — green, black, herbal — they all have been shown to contain high levels of antioxidants, which are believed to protect the body from damage.
- Powdered drink mixes. They contain no tooth-rotting carbonation, and come in sugar-free varieties. They give your sweet tooth a fix without harming your overall nutrition.
And remember that you can always cut up some fresh fruit and pop a little into a tall glass of water for an extra flavor kick. Choosing healthy drinks over soda: Give it a try. Your body will thank you.
Say No to Soda
Soda. This one word invites the thirsty to quench their thirst and feel the coolness in the throat.However, not many are aware of the side effects of this refreshing drink. Soda is a modernized version of sugar water and has zero nutrients in it. Abundant studies have proven the harmful effects of soda especially on the waistline and the other parts of the body.
Sodas have no positive impact on the body. The standard base of soda is the fructose syrup that causes diabetes and other problems. The phosphoric acid and other preservatives produce different types of ailments and cancer in the human body. If a person has the routine of drinking soda daily, they run a higher risk of becoming the victim of the ailments listed below.
➢ Soda causes kidney functions to falter. As the sodas contain phosphoric acid which creates urinary problems, kidney stones, and renal failures.
➢ Soda gives an adrenaline rush that keeps a person awake even at night thereby corrupting the healthy sleep function.
➢ The caramel color of cola soda is 4-methylimidazole which is the primary cause of lung, liver and thyroid cancer.
➢ The cans and bottles in which sodas are packed are known to increase blood pressure and hormone imbalance.
➢ The high level of sugar in Soda also causes blocking off airways and wheezing. They trigger allergies as they have harmful preservatives.
➢ These sodas are also well known for eroding the gums and causing severe tooth damage.
➢ Sodas take away the body’s ability to produce calcium. Less calcium leads to weakening of bones and eventually leads to osteoporosis.
➢ The harmful effects of soft drinks are not only weight gain and obesity. Sodas can cause many life threating diseases in people. Instead of soda, one can opt for natural drinks, teas, flavor infused water and many more natural alternatives.
Health Campaign Says No to Soda
Should young children be steered far far away from sugary beverages towards good old H20?
Apparently they should according to Sugar Bites, a new anti-obesity social marketing campaign. Launched in Contra Costa County, California and co-sponsored by First 5 Contra Costa and Healthy and Active Before 5, the campaign targets parents of toddlers and preschoolers. The goal: to have parents offer to their young children water instead of soda, juice drinks, flavored milk and sports drinks.
The campaign claims that such beverages are “loaded with added sugars and calories with little nutritional value.” Although the campaign doesn’t label 100 percent fruit juice as a dietary devil, parents are urged to limit children’s fruit juice intake to four to six ounces daily as recommended for one to six year-olds by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
On the home page of the campaign website, an infographic outlines how many teaspoons of added sugar each of the sugar-sweetened beverages contain. It also says today’s kids drink twice as many calories from sugary drinks as they did three decades ago, and cites research that suggests sugary beverage intake significantly increases kids’ risks of obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay.
As a registered dietitian and nutritionist and mother of two, I fully support the idea of teaching children from a young age to hydrate mostly by drinking water. I also encourage parents to offer their children fruits and vegetables early on and often. Repeated exposure to naturally water-packed foods not only helps children stay hydrated, but provides them with fiber and countless vitamins and minerals to keep them healthy. It also helps children develop their tastes and preferences for such foods. Research suggests that it may take up to 8 to 20 exposures before children accept and prefer a new food, so parents need to keep in mind that perseverance can pay off—eventually!—when feeding children.
It goes without saying that children should undoubtedly limit added sugars in their diet. And it’s clear sugary beverages contribute a good share of children’s total added sugar calories. Because young children require fewer calories than older ones, they have even less room in their diets for foods and beverages that offer a lot of calories with few nutrients. Instead, they need to fill their plates and cups with mostly nutrient-rich whole grains, fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy foods, and lean protein foods to grow and develop optimally.
Current government dietary guidelines and ChooseMyPlate call for reduced intake of added sugars among all Americans. Children can, however, safely consume about 10 percent of their total calories as added sugar. For a typical preschool child who consumes 1,000 to 1,200 calories, that’s 25 to 30 grams, 100 to 120 calories, or about 6 to 7.5 teaspoons of added sugar daily.
Although typical intake of added sugar among children continues to exceed current recommendations, the tide seems to be turning. A 2013 review of several national surveys show that intake of added sugars among children has decreased between the mid 1990’s and today. Perhaps Sugar Bites and similar initiatives will prove to further reduce added sugar intake among children.
While I generally support this campaign and appreciate its focus on early intervention and prevention, I think it unfairly lumps flavored milk with soda and other sugary beverages. They’re very different! While one cup or box of low fat chocolate milk provides some added sugar—10 grams, 40 calories, or 2.5 teaspoons worth—it also packs in tons of nutrients. As I’ve said in the past, milk is a good or excellent source of nine essential nutrients including calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, vitamin A, and vitamin B12.
Still, it’s prudent for parents to introduce young children to foods and beverages made without added sugars. And when it comes to milk, I encourage parents to first offer plain white milk rather than flavored kinds to get children used to, and learn to prefer, its taste. But if after many tries your children refuse to drink plain low fat or nonfat milk—or even if they occasionally want a delicious low fat chocolate milk—parents shouldn’t feel guilty about including it as a sweet way to get important nutrients into their children’s diets. In my book, usual eating and fitness patterns matter more to the health and well-being of children than simply one food or beverage choice.
While I agree that there’s a lot of data that links sugary beverage intake with adverse health effects such as higher body weight, more obesity, and more type 2 diabetes, a lot more research is needed before we can definitively say that drinking sweet beverages causes all of these conditions. I won’t argue that sugar-sweetened beverages are healthy, and it’s very likely that a high intake of them in young children is linked with other less-than-healthful food and lifestyle habits. But flavored milk and even an occasional soda or fruity drink can fit into a child’s otherwise healthful diet. You may or may not agree. But I truly feel that not everything we eat and drink has to be nutritionally stellar. Sometimes it’s ok to have something simply because you want it and it tastes good. It’s when we have too much of these nutrient-poor beverages and foods too often in the context of an otherwise unhealthy lifestyle that it can becomes a problem we need to address.
What are your thoughts about this campaign?
Image of dietary warning of sugary drinks via .
- By Elisa Zied
Say No to Soda: Healthy Drinks for Kids
Today’s most popular carbonated drinks contain two ingredients that put you and your children at a greater risk for cavities: sugar and acid. According to the Wisconsin Dental Association (WDA), the sugar in soda mixes with bacteria in your mouth, creating even stronger germs that wear away teeth over time. Even sugar-free sodas contain enough acid on their own to cause tooth problems, too. So, it’s no wonder that drinking soda is one of the leading causes of tooth decay.
Luckily, soda isn’t the only delicious beverage out there for your family. Healthy drinks for kids can satisfy their thirst and promote better dental health at the same time.
As a matter of fact, the best beverage you can give your children is tap water. Why? It usually has added fluoride, which helps ward off tooth decay by strengthening the enamel on their teeth. Water’s zero-sugar content also makes it one of the healthiest drinks for kids available. It promotes neither tooth decay nor erosion.
Not every city or municipality adds fluoride to its tap, and tap water isn’t great to drink everywhere you go. If the tap water in your area doesn’t have added fluoride, or you think it doesn’t taste very good, give your kids bottled water instead. Bottled water that contains between 0.6mg and 1.0 mg of fluoride per liter often lets you know with the message, “Drinking fluoridated water may reduce the risk of tooth decay,” printed on its label. If the label doesn’t provide any clues, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends calling the manufacturer and asking about its fluoride content.
Milk is another healthy drink option for kids that promotes good oral health. High in calcium and protein, milk is a good source of phosphorus, which helps to strengthen the enamel in your growing child’s teeth just like fluoride, according to the American Dental Association (ADA) Mouth Healthy site. If your child won’t drink plain milk, you can try adding a small amount of chocolate to it to enhance its flavor. Or, make a compromise by letting your child drink four ounces of chocolate milk and four ounces of plain milk at mealtime. If he is allergic or lactose intolerant, you can also serve no-sugar-added soy milk, fortified with calcium. The added calcium and lack of sugar can provide the same benefit to your family’s dental well-being.
You might be surprised to see tea on the list of healthy drinks for kids. Although black tea can stain teeth and sugary iced teas facilitate tooth decay, plain and unsweetened tea can actually benefit your children’s mouth. Tea contains polyphenols that help fight bacteria, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. It’s definitely an acquired taste, so your child might not warm up to it at first. But if your child does enjoy the taste of (sugar-free) green or black tea, it’s a good option for warming up on a chilly day. Using fluoridated tap water to make it is even better.
Juice, particularly 100-percent fruit juice, can have a healthy glow. When it comes to your family’s teeth, however, it’s best to treat juice as you would soda, and only offer it in moderation. The WDA recommends no more than four to six ounces of 100-percent juice per day, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends only giving it to kids at mealtime. Keep in mind that whole fruits are usually a better option than juice, and an easy time to discourage sweet drinks is in the morning. No soda tastes very good right after a few minutes of brushing, and fruit-flavored toothpastes like Colgate 2 in 1 can tide them over.
Good beverage habits start at a young age. Water is always the most tooth-friendly pick, so encourage your kids to drink it as soon as they let you know they’re thirsty.