Are fruit juices a better choice for children and teens than soft drinks?

Researchers at the University of Houston reviewed scientific studies to explain why sugared drinks make people fat. (Nutrition Review, April 2006) and concluded that sugared drinks do not fill people up as much as solid food does. So calories in drinks do not suppress appetite as effectively as calories in food. Soft drinks average seven teaspoons of sugar per 12-ounce serving, so for each soft drink a child takes in, he gets 140 calories that do not suppress appetite as much as the same number of calories in solid food.

Since fruit juices contain as much sugar and calories as soft drinks, it makes no sense to substitute juices for soft drinks. It’s far better to learn to drink water to quench thirst, and get calories, vitamins and other nutrients from solid foods. One way to get overweight children to take in fewer calories is to serve them sparkling mineral water or soda water, which has carbon dioxide bubbles and no calories. To many people, this bubbly water is more refreshing and tasty than ordinary water.

September 15, 2006

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