You’ve heard many times before how unhealthy soda is for everyone. However, for children there is a certain emphasis on the critical outcomes that can come from it when given too often.
A single can of soda contains up to 39g of sugar and over 150 calories. According to singlecare.com, from 2017 to 2022, child obesity has increased among ages 2 to 5 years old. 12.7% were obese. (CDC, 2021) Among children between six and 11 years of age, 20.7% were obese. Not only can soda contribute to rapid weight gain but can also increase the chances of childhood type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, enamel loss, and dental cavities.
Many parents struggle simply to get their child to eat a decent meal, adding sugary drinks such as juice or soda to their every day diet can act as an appetite suppressant, so kids are less likely to eat nourishing foods. Soda drinkers are less likely to get the recommended levels of vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, and other important nutrients. Healthychild.com states, “Caffeine is known to create physical dependence and upsets the normal balance of neurochemistry in the developing brains of children. Caffeine stimulates the adrenal gland without providing the nourishment it needs. In large amounts, caffeine can lead to adrenal exhaustion, especially in children. “
Besides the outrageous amounts of sugars within these types of drinks, the caffeine content can also affect your child's overall mood and behavior. According to cuimc.columbia.edu “Consuming caffeine not only interferes with regular development (acquisition of skills, emotional and social health, and more), it also instigates side effects that may have long-term health consequences if a child also has underlying health conditions, such as high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, or anxiety.”
Avaram Traum a MD, pediatric nephrologist at MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston shared with WebMD, “ There’s no reason that school-aged children need caffeine. Period. The occasional cup of soda on a special occasion is OK, but children should not drink caffeine on a daily basis.” Switching to healthy alternatives can make the transition from those sugar beverages much easier. Keeping kids away from soda or even package juices can be a difficult task. However, eliminating it from your home and encouraging a healthier lifestyle and alternative can and will be beneficial for yourself and your child in the long run.
An example of a sweet alternative is any of our Smart for Life protein Bars, not only can you satisfy your sweet tooth but you can add something to your lifestyle that won't jeopardize your health. The same example can be applied to drinks as well.
TIP: If you’re a parent looking to remove store bought juices and soda from your child's diet however don’t want to deprive them of something enjoyable, you can create your own juices at home with fresh fruit and vegetables! That way you can create an enjoyable experience together and keep their nutrition a priority.