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Health Problems Associated with Sweetened Drinks

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Sodas, fruit juices, and sweetened beverages all have equal amounts of sugar in them and are considered to be “empty calories.” Here are some more reasons to avoid sugary drinks.

  • Increase in weight: The excess calories (with limited nutrition) are consumed in a liquid form. They are often in addition to usual food intake. Excess calories leads to excess weight. Also, sweetened drinks between meals can decrease children’s appetites and their intake of healthier foods. Watch out for advertisers targeting sugary drinks to your kids.
  • Not enough dairy foods and calcium: Lack of milk consumption leads to insufficient calcium intake. This has been linked to an increase in bone fractures in children and the increase in overweight children.
  • Dental problems: Sweetened drinks have been shown to increase children’s cavities and erosion of the enamel on teeth.
Milk (fat-free
or 1%)
for children older than 2 years of age
soft drink
Vegetable juice Sport Drinks
(water is the optimal thirst quencher for most of our
children’s activities)
Water Lemonade
Beverages sweetened with low/no calorie sweetener*

Notes for chart:
Children above 2 should drink 1% or fat-free milk. Note: Many supermarkets now carry a calcium fortified fat-free milk usually called Skim Deluxe. It contains 500 milligrams of calcium vs. 300 milligrams in an 8 oz. serving.

*More of these products are available today: diet soft drinks, sport drinks (Propel), ice tea, fruit drinks and others. The main no calorie sweeteners used today (solo or in combination) are, acesulfame-potassium, aspartame and sucralose. These sweeteners are FDA approved and are safe for people of all ages, including children.

The first four categories of healthier drinks should be offered to children most frequently. However when the choices are limited, such as at restaurants or family activities, opt for beverages sweetened with low/no calorie sweeteners.


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About the Author

Hope has been a dietitian and diabetes educator for nearly thirty-five years. She has owned and operated Hope Warshaw Associates, LLC, for over twenty years. Her work today spans from corporate consulting to writing consumer articles and authoring numerous best-selling books. She counsels people with diabetes and those with weight concerns. Hope is most well known for her expertise in the areas of diabetes nutrition management and healthy restaurant eating.

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