Millions of obese and overweight children the world over are affected by metabolic syndrome with a large waistline, high blood pressure, raised insulin levels, excess body weight and abnormal cholesterol levels. Some of the biggest culprits causing childhood obesity are the sugary drinks. Sugary drinks have high quantities of added sugar or other sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, fruit juice concentrates, and more. They include soda, pop, cola, fruit punch, lemonade, sweetened powdered drinks, as well as sports and energy drinks.
These drinks are the single largest source of calories in a child’s or an adolescent’s diet. The more soda kids drink, the more likely they are to be obese. Soft drinks, coupled with a lack of physical activity and too much TV screen activity, snacking on high fat and simple carbohydrate foods, add to the problems. Energy drinks have as much sugar as soft drinks, enough caffeine to raise your blood pressure, and additives whose long-term health effects are unknown.
Replacing sugar-laden drinks with water has a dramatic impact on the amount of calories kids consume and helps the fight against childhood obesity. Here’s how you can help your children go off sodas and other sugary drinks:
– Let them eat fresh fruits instead of pre-packed juices.
– Teach older children to read labels so they make better choices.
– Limit consumption of fruit juice to ½ cup (no added sugar) occasionally.
– Encourage children to drink and enjoy fruit or vegetable flavoured home-made water.
– Be patient. It takes time to make long-lasting changes to your child’s diet.