Soft drinks are reasonably priced which tempt kids to choose super-sized soft drinks instead of low-fat milk. The various variety of soft drinks such as regular, diet, with or without caffeine, cola and energy drinks are a huge temptation trap.
The Not–So–Sweet Soft Drinks
Sweetened soft drinks contain about 90 percent water (carbonated water). Containing no major nutrients, these drinks get the sweetness either from sugar or high-fructose corn syrup which is a combination of fructose and dextrose (a sugar obtained from corn). There is no real evidence to support the fact that high-sucrose corn syrup leads to obesity by increasing body fat, changing metabolism and boosting appetite. Many of the companies are eliminating high-fructose corn syrup from their products, but the focus should be on attaining a healthy weight by cutting down on calories and eating good healthy foods. For this, you need to refrain from all types of added sugar.
Soft drink flavors come from artificial and natural flavors. Acids, such as citric acid and phosphoric acid, present in these drinks give a tart taste and act as a preservative. Soft drinks may also contain coloring agents and caffeine. Caffeine, though not harmful to kids, can affect kids’ sleeping pattern, alertness levels and make them feel anxious, jittery or dizzy and cause headaches. Read more on caffeine overdose in kids at www.firsteatright.com. Though the amount of caffeine present in soft drinks is not listed in the Nutrition Facts labels, most caffeine-free soft drinks say so on the label.
If your child or teen drinks sweetened soft drinks, consider these “think before you drink” tips:
- Reduce the quantity over a period. Cut down on the intake every week until he/she reaches the goal of drinking one serving or less a day. Remember that a 1900-ml cup is not a serving! Consume not more than 236 to 355 ml in a day, or try not to drink at all.
- Though diet sodas are a better alternative to regular sodas, water is always the best drink to quench your thirst.
- Replace soft drinks with water, low-fat or fat-free milk at meals.