Thursday, March 29, 2012

What are your kids drinking?

As the weather heats up and the kids go back to playing outside, it is important to keep them hydrated. But do you know what is in your family's favorite beverages? According to the Center for Disease Control, sugary beverages are the biggest contributor of empty calories and sugar in children's diets, and those sugary drinks have been linked to weight gain, Type 2 Diabetes, and heart disease in both children and adults.

Sodas contribute vast amounts of calories and sugar to the American diet. The picture below shows just how much sugar is in a regular coke. In just a 12 oz can there are 39 grams of is recommended that children get no more than 12 grams of sugar per day!

While most people know that soft drinks are packed with sugar, many other beverages contain almost as much sugar, but are considered "healthy choices". Juice drinks, such as Hi-C, Sunny D, and Hawaiian Punch contain as little as 5% juice, and are high in calories and sugar. A Hi-C juice box contains 90 calories and 25 grams of sugar...more sugar per ounce than in a regular Coke.

Instead of juice drinks, opt for water, calorie free flavored water, or a splash of 100% juice added to a glass of water. Even 100% juice can add calories and extra sugar to your child's diet, so limit juice to no more than 6 oz/day.

What about sports drinks? Sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade typically have about half as much sugar as a soda, however the portions are much larger, and people tend to drink more of these beverages than they would a soda. A 32 oz Gatorade has about 220 calories, all from sugar. For most kids, even those who play sports, plain water is sufficient for hydration. If your child is vigorously active for more than 60 minutes at a time (i.e. cross country running) then a low calorie sports drink may be a good choice to replenish electrolytes.

The bottom line? Low fat milk (at least 3 servings per day) and water are the best choices for your kids to build strong bodies while limiting excess sugar. Make sure that you have plenty of cold water on hand during the summer months to make sure your kids stay well hydrated.

1 comment:

  1. That's why parents need to make sure that they've got a list of healthy foods to eat for their kids. :)