The average can of sugared soda contains the equivalent of 10 to 12 teaspoons of sugar.
On a recent visit to a shopping center I saw a mom holding a Pepsi bottle to her one-year old baby’s mouth. I couldn’t help staring and wondered: Does she really not know what she is doing to her little boy or does she simply not care?
It’s common knowldege that soda isn’t healthy for adults; there are even more reasons to limit soda intake for kids who haven’t yet formed the habits that will stay with them for a lifetime.
A few facts about the effects of soda drinks on our health:
- The large amount of added sugar in many sodas is a top contributor to weight gain. People who drink several cans of soda a day may not even be aware of how many nutrient-free calories they are adding to their diet. The average can of sugared soda contains the equivalent of 10 to 12 teaspoons of sugar (CBSNews).
- Drinking soda may contribute to osteoporosis (bone loss). This could be attributable to several factors, most of them affecting the body’s absorption of calcium, a mineral important to bone health. The phosphoric acid used in colas and other carbonated drinks may be the reason for this. The caffeine in some sodas has an effect on calcium absorption as well. Also a factor: For many people who drink a lot of soda, it replaces calcium-rich drinks like milk. To guard your bone health make sure to consume lots of calcium-rich foods.
- Some sodas are loaded with caffeine. Heavy caffeine use–over 500 to 600 mg a day–may cause nervousness, restlessness, irritability and insomnia. This is especially true for children. If you wouldn’t serve your kids coffee, the same caution should apply to caffeinated soda.
- Soda conditions kids to crave overly-sweetened drinks. To avoid forming an unhealthy habit, don’t get them accustomed to viewing highly-sweetened food and drinks (including artificially-sweetened diet sodas, which may taste even “sweeter”) as a reward. Opt for natural alternatives like unsweetened juices or water. This list of best and worst fruit drinks for kids has some suggestions (The Daily Meal).