When our son's 8 year old friend came to our home one day and asked where the drinks were at and I replied, "here is a cup, there is water in the fridge", and her response was "no I meant where are the drinks? Like soda?" I began to realize that there is a real problem in society with drinks for children. The countless times I have seen kids at restaurant drinking soda & babies drinking apple juice from bottles, is enough to really make me cringe. In this blog, I talk about why it is not only a bad idea but a dangerous idea to get your child hooked on anything else besides water & milk.
Some parents will believe that its okay to give their kids sprite because it's caffeine free or diet because its free from sugar.
Things to consider:
- Children who drink soda are more likely to become obese
- Soda will also suppress an appetite so kids are less likely to eat healthy wholesome foods.
- Children who consume soda will typically become deficient in essential vitamins needed for growth & brain health
- Soda's also contain phosphorus which has been proven to cause brittle bones in children.
- Soda's contain acids which will also dissolve tooth enamel in as quickly as 20 minutes & of course cause cavities
- Caffeine in soda also messes with your child's brain chemistry, causing unstable moods
- Soda can contain other toxic chemicals that don't belong in your child's body such as MSG, artificial flavors & acids.
When you are giving your child sprite, you may be saving her from the caffeine, but she's consuming a frightening amount of sugar. Some parents will think no big deal, my child is skinny and needs the calories anyway. However sugar goes beyond the calories. Sugar causes acne in teens, increases the risk of diabetes (even in those who are skinny), it causes inflammation in the body as well as cancer (cancer also loves to feed on sugar), increases risks of depression, drains energy, creates a fatty liver & more. Sugar is also very additive. Did you know that sugar is more addictive then cocaine? Ever been a sugar addict & tried to stop eating/drinking sugar for a day (or even a few hours?), the withdrawals are real. Brown soda's contain caramel coloring, which sounds delicious right? Wrong, Caramel coloring is in no way related to caramel. This chemical created to turn your soda brown has proven to cause cancer & the state of California is even required to carry a warning label on drinks containing more then 29 micrograms of Caramel coloring. One can of Pepsi One has 29 micrograms in it. We have to wonder how our FDA could possibly allow for this completely unnecessary ingredient in sodas?
Zero Sugar & Diet Drinks
Diet soda's are extremely toxic to your child. They contain aspartame which many studies around the world say aspartame use have led to brain tumors, brain damage & liver cancer. It can also cause dizziness, headaches, heart palpitations & memory loss. There is even one case where many Desert Storm soldiers, who drank warm diet soda drinks, came home suffering from symptoms similar to those in people with fomaldehyde poisoning. Diet soda's also cause weight gain. They create the same insulin trigger like sugar does which sends your body into body fat storage mode. Like with sugar soda sodas, diet also contain acids which will kill the enamel on your child's teeth. Research compared the mouths of a cocaine-user, a methamphetamine-user, and a habitual diet-soda drinker, and found the same level of tooth erosion in each of them. The culprit here is citric acid, which weakens and destroys tooth enamel over time
Parents are led to believe that juice is healthy for children. When in fact it is the complete opposite. Fruit juice contains just as much if not more sugar then soda. This can cause excessive weight gain, tooth decay & sugar addiction. Children given juice were more likely to avoid eating healthy meals & become more dependent on liquid sugars. In one cup of apple juice, you will find 24g of sugar which is equivalent to 6tsp or 6 sugar cubes. Don't be fooled by the "100% juice label" either, these juices most often times always contain excessive amounts of sugars. A better option? Squeeze a fresh orange or press a fresh apple for your child once in a blue moon as a treat. Stay away from the store bought juices.
Gatorade was originally invented for professional sportsmen that needed to replenish their electrolytes & carbohydrates in their bodies to keep them from falling ill after a hard workout. However, most people who consume gatorade today are not athletes in strenuous work. A bottle of Gatorade contains 36g of sugar which may be slightly less then a soda, but a whole ton more sugar then any human needs to consume. The sodium found in gatorade is also not a healthy amount for people who are sedentary, and especially in children. The low calorie version of gatorade contain's very unhealthy artificial sweeteners which have proven health consequences. There are also food dyes in Gatorade which have been proven in studies to cause hyper activity in children (over-diagnosed ADHD cases) & cancer. Gatorade is by far one of the worst "lab created" drinks you could give your children, stay away!
#4- Flavored Milk
It's a common misconception that just because it's milk but has some added flavoring, it must still be good for kids right? Absolutely... Incorrect.. When a child consumes chocolate milk, they are consuming twice as much sugar as you'd find in regular milk. Flavored milk also creates a "sweet palate" for your child, making it harder to switch back to regular milk or water. Many chocolate milks can also contain other ingredients to sweeten up the flavor such as high fructose corn syrup. One type of chocolate milk 'TrueMoo' actually contains liquid sugar & cocoa is one of the last ingredients. It also contains carrageenan, which is banned in Europe as its proven to cause cancer.
Choosing A Healthy Alternative
Water- Water is the life source of your children bodies ability to function! Make sure your kids are consuming fresh, filtered water (of course free from fluoride). The recommended daily amount of fluids is: 5 glasses (1 litre) for 5 to 8 year olds. 7 glasses (1.5 litres) for 9 to12 year olds. 8 to 10 glasses (2 litres) for 13+ years. Your child can start drinking water as early as 6 months of age to start getting her used to it.
Coconut Water- An excellent choice for kids in sports activities & needing hydration! Coconut water has a much lower sugar content then sodas for kids that need a boost after workout. Most coconut waters do not contain any scary ingredients either.
Fresh Whole Milk (Raw is even better)- Getting farm free organic grass fed milk is a great treat for your child. Raw milk has been given a bad reputation over the years for being dangerous. However, there are to be further concerns with milk nowadays which is homogenized. When a milk is homogenized, the original form of the fat is changed. The body then processes the milk completely differently. Studies have shown this may lead to heart disease. One study even said:
"Homogenization is the worst thing that dairymen did to milk. Simple proteins rarely survive digestion in a balanced world. Milk is a hormonal delivery system. With homogenization, milk becomes a very powerful and efficient way of bypassing normal digestive processes and delivering steroid and protein hormones to the human body (both your hormones and the cow's natural hormones and the ones they were injected with to produce more milk). Through homogenization, fat molecules in milk become smaller and become 'capsules' for substances that bypass digestion. Proteins that would normally be digested in the stomach or gut are not broken down, and are absorbed into the bloodstream...Homogenized milk, with its added hormones, is rocket fuel for cancer."
In conclusion... set your baby up for a successful future. Give your babies a European formula thats free from Corn Syrups (AKA: Powdered Soda For Babies) & dangerous toxins that have known to cause cancer in lab rats.
In todays society it is hard to tell a child no when it comes to sugary drinks, this gives you an opportunity to educate your child on why it's dangerous to consume these drinks (and younger the better!). Our 5 year old Benjamin is well educated about why Soda is bad for kids, so when he caught our babysitter giving our 1 year old daughter a sip of soda, he promptly said to her " you can't give kids sugar, it is bad for them". And was not afraid to argue why even a sip was not okay for her. We are proud that our child was educated in such a way so we can set him up for a better future. We cannot encourage teaching enough so your child can make decisions for herself vs being told she cannot have something.