Sugary drinks are beverages with added sugars: sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks, sweetened fruit drinks and sweetened coffees or teas. Drinking sugary beverages puts your child at risk for being obese and developing diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension and cavities.
One 10-ounce soda has eight teaspoons of sugar. If your child drinks one soda per day, he or she is consuming nearly 2.5 cups of sugar per week, adding up to 130 cups of sugar per year just in soda alone. That’s a startling statistic!
For children, an increase of one serving of sugary drinks per day increases the odds of being obese by 60%. In King County, one in five middle and high school children are overweight or obese, as are more than half of King County adults.
What beverages are healthy choices for my children? Water, low-fat milk, unsweetened caffeine-free coffee and tea drinks, and small portions (4 ounces or less) of 100% fruit juice. Diet sodas should not replace healthier options like water or milk: Even though they don’t have sugar, they often have a high acid content which can harm teeth.
The bottom line: Sugary drinks should be an occasional treat and limited to a small size with no refills. Sugary drinks have high calories, no nutritional value, don’t make us feel full and are clearly linked to obesity and other serious health problems.
Fruity Fizz, a healthier soda alternative
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) of your favorite 100% pure fruit juice
8 ounces (1 cup) carbonated (or sparkling) water
Pour the fruit juice into a glass. Pour the carbonated water into the glass and stir. Add ice and a fruit garnish if desired and enjoy!
Dr. Byrd is a pediatrician practicing primary care at Covington Clinic North, 16850 SE 272nd Street, Covington. For an appointment or questions, call 253.395.1960. valleymed.org/clinics