HEALTHY LIVING  | 1.25.17  |  by Terra Wellington

Are your children drinking too much sugar?  The U.S. National Center for Health Statistics released new data today that says 2/3 of kids drink at least one sugar-sweetened beverage a day.  The reason why this is concerning is because it can contribute to a lot of health problems.  Like diabetes, obesity, tooth decay, and other health issues.  While kids drinking too much sugar is a challenge, the solutions aren’t out of reach.

 Read on for how to reduce your kids’ sugar drinks  

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What is a sugary drink?

Any drink with added sugar would be a sugary drink.  We’re talking about sodas, fruit drinks with added sugar, sports and energy drinks that are sugar sweetened, and other sugar-sweetened beverages.

You can know if there is added sugar by reading the ingredient label.

Fruit drinks, if there is any real fruit in them, will have grams of sugar listed in the Nutritional Facts Label — but you’ll have to look to the ingredients to know if there is added sugar above and beyond the natural fruit itself.

Here’s an example.  This is Dole’s 100% Pineapple Orange Juice.  Below the picture is the full ingredient list — there is some Vitamin C added, but otherwise you’ve just got the fruit juice and water.  No added sugars.

Yet, when you look at the same juice’s Nutritional Facts Label, you’ll see sugar listed.  But that’s not added sugar — it’s just from the natural fruit itself.

In another example, let’s look at Gatorade Thirst Quencher, Riptide Rush Frost from off of the Fooducate website.  The Nutritional Facts Label tells it all — 14 grams of added sugars.  There’s glucose, sucrose, and fructose added, along with artificial colors.  Granted, if you’re looking to replace electrolytes, there’s some sodium in the drink.  But there are plenty of other drinks and food options out there to help replace electrolytes without all the added sugars.

How to balance hydration with better drink choices?

Well, there’s always water.  For most people, drinking more water is going to be the route to go.

If your family is used to drinking a bunch of sugar, the brain will rebel a bit.  So, you can easily add some squeezed lemon into your water to help with the change in tastes.

There’s also the idea of using a fruit infuser pitcher — but make sure you keep the water refrigerated so you don’t breed bacteria.

But what drinks should I give my sports kids?

Here’s some advice from Livestrong

The most common electrolytes lost through physical activity are sodium and potassium, both of which are readily available in common foods. Sodium is found in cheese, green olives, crackers, breads, meats and other processed and salty foods. Good sources of potassium include milk, bananas, raisins, green leafy vegetables and oranges. By consuming a small snack consisting of foods from these two groups, you can easily replace your body’s electrolyte stores during or just after exercise.

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