Sugary Drinks are Everywhere
Childhood obesity is a nationwide epidemic throughout the United States. While there are many leading factors when it comes to what causes childhood obesity one of the largest causes is from the consumption of sugary drinks. According to the CDC, “80% of youths consume sugar sweetened beverages,” but what they do not mention is what exactly a sugary drink consists of. This poses the question for readers of what is a sugary drink.
For most people when the thought of sugary drinks comes to mind the thought of soda and energy drinks are what constitutes ‘a sugary drink’ however it is actually so much more. According to the National Cancer Center, “sugary drinks consist of fruit drinks, soda, energy drinks, sport drinks and sweetened waters.” The American Heart Association also gives a list of what is included in sugary drinks including sweetened teas to the list as well. In the Advice for Patients section of the Arch Pediatric Medical Journal, they give examples of some of the types of sugar drinks and examples to go with it. For the type of drink classified under fruitades they gave examples such as Gatorade and lemonade, for fruit juices they give examples like Kool-Aid and fruit punch, for soda they give the example of Coke, Pepsi and 7Up, and for energy drinks they give the examples of Monster or Red Bull. The drinks mentioned above are a lot of times considered to be healthy or good for you, and are in many American homes. The problem is that sugary drinks are the largest source of added sugars in a youth’s diet and also the main source of calorie intake. What this means is that when a child drinks a soda they are taking in a lot of calories at one time, often more than a body needs which then is not processed and becomes fat.
The largest problem that Americans are faced with is determining if a drink is considered bad for you. Most Americans do not even think to look at the nutritional label when purchasing beverages, as the companies producing these sugary drinks attach positive health claims to the products to hide the fact that these drinks are packed with sugar. One of the most commonly purchased sports drinks is Gatorade. On the Gatorade label it has the word ‘Performance’ in large print as well as the phrases, “thirst quencher and natural flavors”. Gatorade is also known as an electrolyte sports drink, where it is supposed to replace lost electrolytes, however the proper sodium to potassium ratio for replacing electrolytes is a 1 to 1 ratio and Gatorade consists of 250mg of sodium and 65mg of potassium per 20oz bottle making it so that you are not even able to replenish electrolytes. Kids also see many different famous athletes supporting these products and families are lead to assume that this is a good product for their child. What they don’t know is that Gatorade is packed with 35 grams of sugar in a 20oz bottle. Just think 35 grams of sugar is equal to 8.75 teaspoons of sugar and that’s a lot of sugar in a bottle.
While there are many different types of drinks out there, they can almost always be classified as sugary or not. As a country we need to identify these drinks and start to eliminate them from our children’s diets. In efforts to change our children’s diets we also need to be educating everyone around us in order to prevent the childhood obesity epidemic from getting worse.
Childhood Obesity Causes & Consequences.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 June 2015. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.
Go, A. S., D. Mozaffarian, and V. L. Roger. “Sugar-sweetened beverages initiatives can help fight childhood obesity.” circulation 127 (2013): e6-e245.
Harris, Jennifer L., et al. “Evaluating Sugary Drink Nutrition and Marketing to Youth.” New Haven, CT: Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity (2011).
Ogden, Cynthia . Consumption of Sugar Drinks in the US (2005-2008), et al. . US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, 2011.
Sugary Drinks and Childhood Obesity. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2009;163(4):400. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2009.16