Healthy Living: Keep these drinks away from kids


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New studies are circulating about the negative impacts diet drinks can have on our hearts. While the jury is still out on the toll they take on our ticker, one thing is for sure: The American Heart Association doesn’t want diet drinks in the hands of kids.

Dr. Mary Ann Bauman who is a Board Member with the American Heart Association says, “We don’t want them on diet drinks because we don’t, we do not know what is going to happen long term, so why take a risk with your child that is in great health?” 

With the majority of kids in our state, still learning remotely, it may feel hard to control what they are grabbing from the fridge with 24/7 access these days.  A lot of parents are under the impression that 100% fruit juice is ok to give to kids, but Dr. Bauman says there is a ton of sugar in those drinks, too. With a lot of us pushing hospital and dental visits during the pandemic, she says you want to be careful because sugar causes tooth decay!  

So here’s what the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending when it comes to sugar-sweetened beverages:  

  • For older kids: one sugary drink each week.
  • For kids 4 to 6 years old: 4 to 6 ounces a day.
  • For Toddlers: 4 ounces per day.

If you are going to give your child fruit juice, Dr. Bauman has a recommendation, “Dilute it with water, you know their taste buds are forming as well, so you don’t want them to get used to these very sweet kinds of flavors.” 

Dr. Bauman says oftentimes adults use diet drinks as a bridge to get to the recommended drinks such as water, low-fat milk and non-fat milk.  

Dr. Bauman says for her personally, she has learned it is possible to trick your taste buds, “You can use those beverages to try to make a transition but increase the amount of water and these other drinks, the milk, etc, the low-fat, and change your taste buds. You will be happy to do that.” 

So… You might say, "well this is all good information, but I am actually addicted to diet drinks or sugary drinks." Here are some ways to help you kick the habit. 

Don't go cold turkey. You can try to Cut back by one serving per day until you're down to one drink per day and then aim for one every other day until you can phase out soft drinks entirely. 

Drink water, even if it's carbonated. Eventually, you can replace soft drinks with seltzer or sparkling water if you are craving carbonation, but be sure to look at the sodium content.

Try infusing fruit into water! You can purchase a pitcher, fill it with water, then add slices of oranges, lemons, strawberries, watermelon or whatever fruit you like. 


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