It is a shocking, but true fact, that in 2003 alone Australians consumed 110 litres of soft drink per person. This is equivalent to a can of soft drink per day each and this number is increasing every year. In the US, soft drinks account for more than a quarter of all drinks consumed. This statistic has lead to soft drink consumption being officially recognized as a contributing factor in the development of obesity in children. Soft drinks are becoming the top choice among the nation's young as soft drink manufacturers focus on brand building among younger and younger consumers. It's no longer "cool" to drink water!
But how healthy can these beverages be? They only provide a lot of unnecessary calories, sugar and caffeine. Did you know that a 360mL can of soft drink contains 40g of refined sugar? That is 10 teaspoons of pure calorie, all of which amounts to absolutely no nutritional value!
Soft drinks are linked with many health problems such as:
- Tooth decay
- Caffeine dependence
- Weakened bones Osteoporosis
- Allergies (reaction to artificial colours and flavours)
- Attention Deficit Disorder
It is a combination of increased soft drink consumption, decreased milk and other healthy beverage consumption and a possible link between phosphorus and bone health that researchers believe is enough to justify concern about the health impact of carbonated beverage consumption. Did you know that high consumption of soft drinks increases your phosphorus intake and may contribute to an imbalance in the calcium phosphorus ratio. If choosing to drink sodas it is important that your calcium intake increases to match it (4 glasses of milk for every can of soda)
What's found in soft drinks?
- Aspartame - used in diet soft drinks, is a potent neurotoxin and endocrine disrupter.
- Caffeine - stimulates the adrenal gland without providing nourishment. In large amounts, caffeine can lead to adrenal exhaustion, especially in children.
- Phosphoric acid - added to give soft drinks "bite," is associated with calcium loss.
- Citric acid - often contains traces of MSG, a neurotoxin.
- Artificial Flavors - may also contain traces of MSG.
- Water - may contain high amounts of fluoride and other contaminants.
What can we do for our children?
- At home, serve a single glass of milk at every meal and offer water the rest of the time.
- Having a water cooler is a great way to encourage children to drink more water. There is no hard, fast rule as to how much they should drink.
- Also limit juice intake as this can interfere with appetite and also contribute to tooth decay. If you want to drink fruit juice, the best way is to make your own with organic fruit, and then you know exactly what you are drinking.
Long term consumption of soft drink can increase your chances of encountering health problems. There's no time like the present to make the change and switch to drinking water, milk or freshly squeezed, organic fruit juice!