Photo credit: Lin Pernille
A recent study suggests that a highly effective way to prevent childhood obesity is to replace soda and sweetened juices with water.
This should not come as a big surprise: a common advice from dietitians is that people who need to lose weight stop drinking soda - simply replacing soda with water, without changing anything else about one’s eating and exercise habits, can translate into a significant - and healthy - weight loss.
Soda is extremely unhealthy. It contains high fructose corn syrup, which increases fats in the blood’s triglycerides. Because it is a liquid, these fats also are absorbed into the blood stream faster than those that appear in solid food. This, coupled with the heavy amount of insulin production from the pancreas when soda is drank, can lead to type two diabetes. Soda also contains caffeine, and absolutely no nutrients which the body can use.
Children and teens in the United States drink, on average, 235 empty calories in sugar-sweetened beverages each day. When these drinks are cut out, the average child does not make up for them by eating or drinking more calories elsewhere, which means a key strategy to eliminating excess calories and prevent childhood obesity is eliminating sweetened drinks from kids’ diets.
Sounds impossible? Expecting the kids to rebel against the new rules? Don’t forget that kids adapt quickly to changes and that if you’re confident and show them that you’re not planning to change your mind, they’ll likely accept whatever you offer them. If there’s no soda in the house (you can allow it as a special treat when dining out) and if you don’t bring juice boxes to the playground with you, they’ll drink what’s available - and if what’s available is water, your kids will quickly get used to drinking that.
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