Soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages can packexcess calories into your family’s diet without helping them feel full. Over time, these calories lead to weight gain, which can increase the risk of other illnesses. As noted by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy’s Kick the Can campaign:
“Every additional daily serving of soda increases a child’s risk for obesity by 60 percent. Young children who drink sugar-sweetened beverages between meals have more than double the risk of being overweight compared to those who don’t, and children who drink sugar-sweetened beverages are more likely to be overweight and obese later in life. Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages also compromises the overall quality of a young child’s diet; sugar-sweetened beverage consumption is associated with inadequate intake of critical nutrients like calcium, iron, and vitamin A.”
Excessive soda has also been linked to issues beyond childhood obesity, includingdiabetes, heart disease, cavities, and even instances of violence in teens. While diet soda may seem like a safer bet, studies show that the chemicals and artificial sweeteners they contain could be connected to metabolic syndrome, kidney problems and other aliments.
The best solution for the health of the whole family is to simply reduce the amount of soda being served. Schools across the country are discovering that cutting soda can have a big impact: recent research published in the journal, Pediatrics suggests that restricting snack and drink sales outside of school lunch programs can keep kids from gaining excess pounds.
So how can you help your kids ditch the soda habit? Researchers in Belgium asked over 1,600 parents who were able to reduce their child’s soda intake for advice. They found that simply not serving soda with meals can have a big impact on overall consumption. Parents also recommended reserving sugar-sweetened beverages for parties and special occasions, instead of keeping them in the house.
Start reducing your family’s soda intake by making it part of your Kids Cook Monday! Serve water with your family dinner this week and try out one of these fun recipes for a sweet treat that’s low in sugar and additives: