How Much Milk Should A 3 Year Old Drink Daily A Closer Look at Sugar-Sweetened Drinks – The Bitter Truth

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A Closer Look at Sugar-Sweetened Drinks – The Bitter Truth

It’s no secret that soda and other sweetened beverages contain large amounts of sugar, which can lead to tooth decay and weight gain. What some may not know is that multiple studies reveal that sugary drinks do more damage than cause cavities or make your clothes feel tighter. Heavy consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages can have a significant, negative impact on overall health. Sugar-sweetened beverages include regular soda, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sugar-sweetened water. Sugary drinks have been linked to obesity, bone fractures and osteoporosis, kidney problems, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The following information outlines the health complications that have been linked to the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and provides tips for a healthier lifestyle.

Children are heavy consumers of sugary drinks, according to the US Department of Agriculture, and they drink it at alarmingly high rates. A recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey study revealed the following facts about the consumption of sugary drinks by children and teenagers and the results are anything but sweet:

The consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in the United States has increased over the past 30 years among children and adults.

Teenagers and young adults consume more sugary drinks than other age groups.

Males consume more sugary drinks than females. Among boys aged 2-19, 70% consume sugary drinks on any given day.

A full third of teenage boys drink at least three cans of soda a day.

The consumption of sugary drinks, especially among young children and teenagers, is a serious problem in our country. Sugar-sweetened beverages are an increasingly large part of the diets of children and teenagers. Just one 12-ounce soda contains anywhere from 31 to 46 grams of sugar depending on the type of soda. 46 grams of sugar is the equivalent of eleven teaspoons of sugar! The following are some of the serious health consequences related to the prolonged consumption of sugary drinks:

Decreased Bone Mass Density and Bone Fractures in Children

Osteoporosis, or the loss of bone density, is usually considered a geriatric condition. But the disease may have its roots in adolescence when bone mass reaches its maximum level. Because your bones reach their maximum mass and strength during your 20s, the more bone mineral density (BMD) you build when you’re young, the less likely you are to develop osteoporosis later in life. Decreased intake of milk and excessive consumption of sugary carbonated drinks can decrease bone marrow density and increase the risk of developing osteoporosis later in life. Animal studies also reveal that phosphorus, a common ingredient in soda, can deplete bones of calcium.

In addition, studies have found that consuming soft drinks is associated with an increased risk of bone fractures in school girls. In one of the studies, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, researchers found that 14-year-old girls who drank the most cola were 3.6 times more likely to have bone fractures than those who drank the least.

Weight gain

Sugary drinks are the main source of added sugar in children’s daily diet. Consuming these beverages increases calorie intake – a factor potentially contributing to obesity among youth nationwide. Between 1977 and 2001, Americans’ daily caloric intake increased by 250-300 calories, nearly half of which (43%) came from sugary drinks alone. Obesity is now the most common medical condition of childhood. Almost 1 in every 3 children is at risk of being overweight. Complications of obesity include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and many other health and social problems.

Erosion of Tooth Enamel and Stomach Lining

Excessive consumption of sugary carbonated drinks increases the risk of dental problems, especially in children. The phosphoric acid in baking soda can prevent calcium absorption and weaken teeth. The acid strips teeth of enamel, leaving them brittle. Once enamel breaks down, bacteria can invade and cause decay. The acids in soda can also exacerbate gastroesophageal reflux disease and ulcers. Phosphoric acid from these drinks neutralizes the hydrochloric acid in your stomach and destroys the body’s ability to absorb essential elements such as iron, calcium and magnesium. Impaired stomach function can result in indigestion, bloating and worsening of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and several other stomach problems.

Kidney Stones

The high level of phosphoric acid in sodas is known to change the urine in a way that promotes kidney stones and other kidney problems.

Heart disease

The latest research from the Harvard School of Public Health finds evidence of a link between sugary drinks and heart disease. The study found that those who drank more than two servings of a sugary drink per day had a nearly 40% higher risk of heart disease than those who rarely drank sugary drinks. Drinking more than one soft drink per day is associated with an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a group of symptoms such as elevated blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, elevated triglycerides and low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol.

How to break your habit and what to drink instead of sugary drinks

The best way to counteract the negative effects of sugary drinks is to eliminate sugar-sweetened drinks from your diet. Water, of course, is the best drink. But for some, plain water is too simple and kicking the habit overnight can be unrealistic. Start by reducing the number of sugary drinks you have per day until you eliminate them completely.

Try drinking some of the following drinks for a tasty alternative:

Add slices of your favorite fruits and vegetables – lemons, oranges, cucumber, mint or limes to a pitcher of ice water for a refreshing and delicious drink.

Add a splash of 100% fruit juice to sodium-free seltzer water – mix one part 100% cranberry or pomegranate juice with three parts seltzer.

Add a few slices of lime or lemon to tonic water.

Drink iced herbal teas or green tea – green tea is naturally high in antioxidants. If you like your teas sweetened, add some honey.

Skim milk: a low fat alternative that is high in calcium.

Create the health you deserve by nourishing your body with healthy foods and eliminating sugar-sweetened beverages from your diet. Creating a healthy life is more than just eating and drinking right, however. It is about treating the whole person – mind, body, spirit and energy. Create a healthy and balanced mind and body using one of the many wellness treatments offered at Integrative Family Medicine and Healing Therapies of Fairfield County: yoga, massage, reiki/healing touch therapy, acupuncture, guided imagery, reflexology and manual lymphatic drainage. We believe in giving our patients the opportunity to find healing in any of our integrative wellness therapies, which are designed to heal and soothe the body, spirit and mind.

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