How Much Water Should My 1 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 high amounts of sugar, which can lead to tooth decay and weight gain. What some don’t know is that numerous studies have shown that sugary drinks do more harm than just cause cavities or make clothes tighter. High consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages can have a significant, negative effect on general 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 associated with drinking sugar-sweetened beverages and provides tips for a healthier lifestyle.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, children consume sugary drinks in large quantities and drink at alarmingly high rates. A recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey revealed the following facts about sugary drink consumption among children and teens, and the results aren’t sweet:

Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in the United States has increased over the past 30 years among both children and adults.

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

Men consume more sugary drinks than women. 70% of boys aged 2-19 consume sugary drinks on a 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 increasing part of the diet of children and teenagers. Just one 12-ounce can of soda contains 31 to 46 grams of sugar, depending on the type of soda. 46 grams of sugar equals eleven teaspoons of sugar! Below are some of the serious health consequences associated with long-term consumption of sugar-laden beverages:

Reduced bone mass density and fractures in children

Osteoporosis, or the loss of bone density, is generally considered a condition of old age. However, the disease takes root in adolescence, when bone mass reaches its peak. Since your bones reach their peak mass and strength in your 20s, the more bone mineral density (BMD) you build up at a young age, the less likely you are to develop osteoporosis later in life. Decreased milk consumption and excessive consumption of sugary carbonated drinks can reduce bone marrow density and increase the risk of developing osteoporosis later in life. Animal studies have also shown that phosphorus, a common ingredient in soda, can deplete calcium in bones.

In addition, studies have shown that soft drink consumption is associated with an increased risk of bone fractures in school-age girls. In one study 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 suffer a fracture than those who drank the least.

Gaining weight

Sugary drinks are the main source of added sugar in children’s daily diets. Consuming these beverages increases caloric intake – a factor that could potentially contribute to youth obesity across the country. Between 1977 and 2001, Americans’ daily calorie consumption increased by 250-300 calories, almost half of which (43%) came from sugary drinks alone. Being overweight is now the most common childhood disease. Almost every third child 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. Phosphoric acid in baking soda can interfere with calcium absorption and weaken teeth. The acid strips the enamel of the teeth, making them brittle. As the enamel breaks down, bacteria can enter and cause decay. The acids in soda are also known to aggravate gastroesophageal reflux disease and ulcers. Phosphoric acid from these drinks neutralizes hydrochloric acid in the stomach and destroys the body’s ability to absorb essential elements such as iron, calcium and magnesium. Impaired stomach function can cause indigestion, bloating and worsening symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and many other stomach problems.

Kidney stones

The high phosphoric acid in sodas is known to alter urine in ways that promote kidney stones and other kidney problems.

Heart disease

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

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

The best way to combat the negative effects of sugary drinks is to eliminate sugar-sweetened drinks from our diet. Of course, water is the best drink. But for some, plain water is too plain, and breaking the habit overnight may be unrealistic. Start by reducing the number of sugary drinks you drink per day until you eliminate them completely.

Try some of the following drinks for a tasty alternative:

Add slices of your favorite fruits and vegetables – lemon, orange, cucumber, mint or lime to a pitcher of ice cold water for a refreshing and flavorful drink.

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

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

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

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

Create the health you deserve by fueling your body with healthy foods and cutting out sugar-sweetened beverages from your diet. But building a healthy life is more than eating and drinking right. It is about treating the whole person – mind, body, spirit and energy. Create a healthy and balanced mind and body with one of Fairfield County Integrative Family Medicine and Healing Therapies’ many wellness treatments: yoga, massage, reiki/healing touch therapy, acupuncture, guided imagery, reflexology and manual lymphatic drainage. We believe in empowering our patients to find healing in any of our integrative wellness therapies designed to heal and soothe the body, soul and mind.

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