The Impact of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Sodas on Adolescent Weight Change
Several studies have shown that one of the contributing factors to the rising numbers of adolescents that have an unhealthy weight is the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages/sodas. It is important to understand the relationship of adolescent obesity and sugar-sweetened beverages/sodas.
The Association Between Sugar-Sweetened Beverages/sodas and Adolescent Weight Change
Here is one big research study that was done on this topic: The Harvard University Nurses for Health study investigated data from 16,771 children across 50 states in the United States. These children were kids of the Nurses’ Health Study II participants. This big study aimed to determine whether there was an association between the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages/sodas and weight change in adolescents.
The study found adolescents who consumed more sugar-sweetened beverages/sodas had a higher body mass index (BMI) (ie they were more overweight) than those who consumed fewer sugar-sweetened beverages/sodas.
If you don’t know what BMI is and want to learn how to know if your child has an unhealthy BMI and how much weight does your child need to lose to be in a healthy weight, listen to episode 1 of the Lifestyle and Weight loss for Teens podcast here.
The Negative Impact of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages/sodas on Health
Sugar-sweetened beverages/sodas have a negative impact on health, particularly when consumed in large quantities. The high-calorie content of sugar-sweetened beverages/sodas can contribute to weight gain, tooth decay, type 2 diabetes and future heart disease.
One of the reasons why sugar-sweetened beverages/sodas are really “empty calories” is because they do not provide any nutritional value. Unlike whole fruits and vegetables, which contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals, sugar-sweetened beverages/sodas have none of that.
The Role of Parents in Limiting Sugar-Sweetened Beverages/Sodas Consumption
Parents can play a significant role in limiting their children's consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages/sodas. One way to do this is to limit the amount of sugar-sweetened beverages/sodas that are kept in the house. If you don’t buy it, your kid can’t find it in the house to drink it! Parents can also encourage their children to drink water or milk instead of soda or juice.
Another way to limit sugar-sweetened beverage consumption is to encourage children to read labels when they are shopping for beverages/sodas. Labels can provide information on the amount of sugar in a particular beverage. Children can be encouraged to choose beverages/sodas with lower sugar content.
Alternatives to Sugar-Sweetened Beverages/sodas
There are many alternatives to sugar-sweetened beverages/sodas that are both healthy and tasty.
Water is one of the best alternatives as it is calorie-free and can help to keep the body hydrated.
Milk is also an excellent alternative as it provides calcium and other essential nutrients.
Smoothies made from fresh fruits, are also excellent choices because they have a lot of vitamins.
By the way, if you are looking for alternative healthier drink options for teens that are high in protein, here is a collection of 15 healthy smoothies recipes I put together, which you can crab for free here: smoothies
The results of the study were clear: there is a significant association between the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages/sodas and weight gain in children and adolescents. The more sugary drinks that children and adolescents consumed, the more likely they were to gain weight and become overweight.
The researchers found that children who consumed one or more sugary drinks per day had a significantly higher BMI than children who consumed less than one sugary drink per day.
Additionally, the researchers found that the children who consumed more sugary drinks were more likely to become overweight or obese over time, even if they had normal weight at the beginning.
Limitations of the Study
It is important to note that this study has some limitations. For example, the researchers only looked at children whose mothers were nurses, which may not be representative of the general population. Additionally, the study was based on self-reported data, which may not be entirely accurate.
Despite these limitations, the study provides valuable insights into the relationship between sugary drink consumption and weight gain in children and adolescents.
If you want to learn more about this study, listen to Episode 8 of the Lifestyle and Weight loss for teens podcast here http://lifestyleforteens.com/8
What Can Parents Do?
As a parent, it can be challenging to know how to help your child maintain a healthy weight. However, there are some simple steps that you can take to reduce your child's consumption of sugary drinks.
- Encourage your child to drink more water. Water is the best beverage for hydration, and it contains no calories or sugar. You can make water more appealing by adding slices of fruit or cucumber to it.
- Limit the amount of sugary drinks that you keep in the house. If sugary drinks are not readily available, your child will be less likely to consume them.
- Talk to your child about the importance of making healthy beverage choices. Explain to them that sugary drinks can contribute to weight gain and other health problems.
- Finally, be a good role model. If your child sees you drinking sugary drinks, they will be more likely to want them as well. Try to drink water and other healthy beverages/sodas in front of your child.
I hope that this blog has given you some points for further discussion with your teen.
Once again, if you are looking for alternative healthier drink options for teens that are high in protein, here is a collection of 15 smoothies recipes I put together, which you can crab for free here smoothies
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