To Your Health
April, 2019 (Vol. 13, Issue 04)
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Too Much Soda or Too Little Water? The Double-Edged Sword for Kids

By Editorial Staff

Soda and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption is out of control, and while adults can take their fair share of the blame - both for their own consumption and the example it sets for their children - we can't let kids off the hook by any means.

A recent study suggests one in five U.S. kids don't drink any water at all on an average day ... but you can be sure they're drinking soda or similar sugar-sweetened drinks. In fact, children with zero water intake consume almost twice as many calories from sodas and sugary drinks as children who drink at least some water during the day.

The study in JAMA Pediatrics examined data from 8,400 children (average age: 11 years) over a five-year period to assess drinking habits. Here's the crux of what researchers discovered:

  • Children consumed approximately 132 calories daily courtesy of sodas and other sugar-sweetened drinks.
  • Children who consumed any quantity of water only consumed approximately 112 calories a day from sodas / sugary drinks.
  • Children who consumed no water whatsoever consumed a whopping 210 calories daily from sodas / sweetened beverages.

drining water - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Of course, more calories can lead to weight problems, among other health problems. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Frequently drinking sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with weight gain/obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney diseases, non-alcoholic liver disease, tooth decay and cavities, and gout, a type of arthritis."

Then there's the not-drinking-enough-water side of the equation. Not only is water calorie free; it's also critical to body and brain function. Water helps deliver oxygen throughout the body, lubricates our joints, regulates body temperature, helps flush out wastes and prevents kidney damage, among other important functions.

Too little water also can cause dehydration (a condition hastened by consumption of sugary beverages, by the way), which in its mild form can cause distressing symptoms, and in its extreme form can be life-threatening. Talk to your doctor for more information on the importance of limiting sugary beverage intake and ensuring adequate water consumption.