As lifestyles changes occur and as advertising dollars are poured in, our children are drinking more and more colas every day. Here are the reasons why children should not be drinking colas or carbonated drinks.
- These are empty calories with no nutrition. If these calories are not eliminated through physical activity, they simply add to the child's weight without contributing to their strength. Overweight and obesity are increasing rapidly among India's children
- Colas contain sugar (other than diet colas). These sugars stay on children's teeth and cause tooth decay.
- The daily recommended allowance of sugar for a person is 40 grams. The average bottle of regular cola contains atleast 25 grams of sugar.
- Most colas contain caffeine. Since children weigh less than adults, the effects of caffeine are much higher in them. Caffeine results in
- Trouble going to sleep
- Reduced sleep1
- Disturbed sleep1
- Increased daytime naps1
- Reduced concentration
- And most importantly, caffeine is addictive.
- Colas just fill up a child's stomach thus reducing the intake of other nutritious meals, milk etc., Usually milk is the food that children reduce the most in favour of cola. Reducing milk reduces their calcium intake, which affects bone health. And to make matters worse, milk contains not just calcium, but many essential minerals and proteins that cola cannot substitute for.
- Colas also affect bone health in another way. They contain phosphorus and high amounts of phosphorus in the body cause bone loss2. Research has shown that bone fracture rates increase when cola consumption increases.
What should parents do?
- Don't get your kids started on colas. As kids get to be a few years old, educate them about the dangers of colas and why they advertise so much ("If it were good for you, why would they so much money asking you to drink it?"
- Ensure that the child gets their proper intake of milk
- Provide fresh fruit and fresh fruit juices at home
1. Pollak, Charles P., Bright, David, "Caffeine Consumption and Weekly Sleep Patterns in US Seventh-, Eighth-, and Ninth-Graders", Pediatrics, 2003 111: 42-46
2.Draper HH, Scythes CA, "Calcium, phosphorus, and osteoporosis", Fed Proc. 1981 Jul; 40(9):2434-8
3. Grace Wyshak, "Teenaged Girls, Carbonated Beverage Consumption, and Bone Fractures", Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med.2000;154(6):610-613
This is really a valuable piece of advice. I have one more point to add to this. Kids who have started drinking colas, may not opt for fresh juices any-more. In this case, try adding a little soda to fresh juices. the combination may be 90 - 10 % (juice n soda not the reverse :-) )