In celebration of National Eat Smart Month — and in an effort to continue raising awareness about the dangers of sugary drink consumption — we recently collaborated with our friends at MomsRising for a special blog series. We want to thank guest bloggers Mary Gonzalez and Dr. John Rausch for sharing their experience and expertise.
What You Put in Your Body Matters! Communicating Healthy Values Builds a Foundation for Life-Long Health
My daughter, Krissy, was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes when she was still in elementary school. From the beginning, I never wanted my daughter to feel different and, like all parents, I wanted the very best for her. I also wanted her to be confident and empowered to make good choices. Fortunately, through years of practice, we learned a very important lesson: what you put in your body matters!
My family is from the Bronx, in New York City, where making the right decision when it comes to your kids’ nutrition can be difficult. In my neighborhood, we have a lot of fast food chains and a lot of advertisements for soda, sports drinks, energy drinks and a lot of other stuff that jeopardizes our kids’ health. Walk into any bodega or look on any kids’ restaurant menu and that’s exactly what you’ll find.
That’s why I try to educate parents about the benefits of good nutrition and about the perils of unhealthy diets. Too often, in my community, unhealthy diets include consuming too many added sugars, which can lead to type-2 diabetes, childhood obesity, cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. We can do better!
Make Water the Default: Why and How to Avoid Sugary Drinks
We all want what’s best for our children and strive to keep them healthy and happy. This is very difficult in today’s hectic world. Our children are being constantly exposed to seductive advertising for non-healthy food and beverage options. Sugary drinks are one major culprit of health problems in children. These drinks include sodas, soft drinks, juice drinks with added sugar, sports and electrolyte replacement drinks, sweetened teas, and energy drinks.
Sugary drinks are consumed by millions of children and adolescents and are the number one source of added sugar in their diets. A typical 20-ounce bottle of soda or juice drink has 17 teaspoons of sugar! Why is this such a problem? There is increasing evidence that drinking sodas and other sugary drinks are preventing kids from growing up at a healthy weight. By drinking just one can of soda a day and not changing any other caloric intake, a person can gain up to five pounds a year. With one in three American children already living at an unhealthy weight, this is certainly concerning. Further, drinking sugary beverages has been linked with higher risks of diabetes, heart disease, and cavities in children and adults.