Cleverly packaged, brightly colored, inexpensive juices, drinks, flavored teas and sports beverages crowd grocery store shelves. Chocolate and strawberry milk, juice and sparkling juice are offered daily in your child’s school cafeteria. Many kids are rewarded with sweet refreshments following sports practices and games. Add them up, and you’ll find countless, daily opportunities for kids to indulge in liquid sweet treats.
An October 2013 analysis published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition underscores the role that sugar-sweetened beverages play in promoting unhealthy weight gain. In April 2015, the World Health Organization stressed the importance of cutting back on sugar-sweetened beverages.
Although parents may wish to limit sugary drinks, they need alternatives to offer. As a pediatric dietitian with the Duke Children’s Healthy Lifestyles Program, I get this question frequently. Wise mama bear, from the Berenstain Bears book, Too Much Junk Food, offers the best possible answer: “It’s called water.”