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The Truth About Kids and Sports Drinks

By HERWriter
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It is time for lunch and instead of soda you’ve packed your son or daughter a sports beverage. At soccer practice after school you hand them another sports beverage. At dinner you say no to the cola and give them yet another sports beverage. Each meal contained a variety of healthy fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and grains so you feel good about all your choices. However, you may think you’re doing a good thing by limiting their soda intake, but the reality is, many of these sports drinks contain a lot of unnecessary sugar. According to a new study, large consumption of sports beverages containing sugar could be negatively impacting your child’s health. The study was conducted at The Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living at The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. The study is set to be published the October edition of Pediatrics.

The study followed 8th and 11th graders at a Texas school and looked at their sweetened beverage intake in addition to both unhealthy and healthy food choices as well as their physical activity level. These beverages are often touted in the media as a healthy alternative to sodas, leaving many parents reaching for them instead. Most of them, however, are laden with sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. The study found that more than a quarter of these students were drinking sports drink as much as two to three times a day.
The study concludes that the over-consumption of sugary beverages including soda and sports beverages could be contributing to the nation’s childhood obesity problem. Researchers said, “Drinking just one can of soda or other sugary beverage a day could lead to more than a ten pound weight gain in a year.” Nutritionists warn parents not to give their children more than one glass of sugary juice whether natural or not a day. Sports drinks should be used only when they are exercising at an extreme level. Water is the best replenishment for loss of fluids during exercise. I can remember playing softball in the extreme summer heat and relying on fruits such as oranges to revive and add back in nutrients.

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Whatever happened to serving milk? Kids should be drinking 32 z daily, or consuming other dairy to get calcium laid in. I know I am not that young anymore, but it was milk my parents supplied us with growing up. Yeah, there might be an occassional soda--but only at a party, or occassional trip out of town when we stopped for burgers--but likely it was a milk shake over a soda. Dairy seems awfully neglected these days when I hear discussions of what kids eat/drink.

October 6, 2010 - 6:26pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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