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Soft Drinks & Kids, Moderation is the Key



Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

My daughter-in-law gives her children soft drinks. From the time the 7-year-old was a baby, she has given him soft drinks. He is very hyperactive. Now, she is starting to give our one-year-old grandchild soft drinks. This is very disturbing. Our son works long hours a day, so he does not see. Besides making children hyperactive, can you tell us what are other complications?

Signed,

Concerned

Dear Concerned,

Because soft drinks are basically liquid sugar and have no nutritional value, it is disturbing to see children consuming these beverages. Soft drinks are on the list of the 10 worst foods for kids compiled by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). The CSPI top 10 worst Children´┐Żs foods are soda Pop, whole milk, hamburgers, American cheese, hot dogs, French fries & tater tots, ice cream, pizza loaded with cheese and meat, bologna, and chocolate bars (2009).

As in most cases however, moderation is the key. An occasional soft drink will not hurt a child if they have a regular diet of healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and low-fat milk. But, if the soft drinks are replacing nutritional beverages such as milk, then this is a problem.

Babies and children need calcium in their diet in order to build bone density during their growing years. If children have an unhealthy habit of consuming soft drinks instead of milk, the result will be inadequate calcium intake, making them candidates for osteoporosis and broken bones when they are older. In addition, researchers advocate preventing childhood obesity by reducing consumption of carbonated drinks (James, et. al., British Medical Journal, May 22,2004 at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15107313).

There are not enough scientific studies to conclude that soft drinks cause hyperactivity. However, if a behavior seems to grow worse after eating or drinking certain foods, then that substance should be avoided.

For more information, go to http://www.cspinet.org/