Start them young on the right foot!

I am not a parent to any human beings, I clearly have two dogs, and I really don’t like when people give me advice related to my pooches (I almost made the statement that I hate when people without dogs give me advice related to my dogs, but really, it is all unsolicited advise!!).  So, I am going to preface that I am not a parent, and not preaching about how to raise a child here at all, but I have touched on it before in my blogs on nutrition, and I do think it is important to teach by example; study just caught my eye, and I wanted to pass it along because it deals with the devils drink, or as I like to call it: SODA!

sodaNow, I am never one to turn down a nice gin and tonic every now and again, or to not drink ginger ale when I have a sick stomach, but daily consumption of soda (diet or full sugar) really is horrible for your stomach (causes ulcers) and for your pancreas (your risk of type II diabetes goes up thus increasing your long-term risk for pancreatic cancer), along with the standard issues of obesity, tooth decay, caffeine dependence, and weakening of bones (phosphoric acid in soda can leach calcium off of your bones- creepy!!).  Also, there are new studies showing that increased soda consumption increases cardiovascular risks (i.e. stroke and heart attack) too because of the dyslipidemia (literally a disruption in lipids, or fats, that are in the blood….too much fat in the blood leads to plaque build up on cells and artery/vein walls) that occurs.

The Journal of American Dietary Association did a long-term study starting in 1996 with 5-year-old caucasian girls (roughly 170 children and parents as subjects), looking at the health/dietary differences between girls that were drinking soda at age 5 and those who weren’t.  I didn’t find the outcome shocking at all, but I did find it very sad: the girls who were drinking soda at age 5 continued to do so through age 15 and had an extremely low milk intake a higher intake of foods with added sugars, and lower intake of protein, fiber, phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin D, calcium, and potassium in their diets. Basically, these children were eating processed foods and drinking soda on a daily basis as their normal diets.  This significantly increases the rate of obesity and type II diabetes, and treating type II diabetes becomes much more difficult when people have no concept of healthy meal choices.  So these children are engrained with these poor diets, and it is a tough challenge to change their eating habits.

These girls were set up at the age of 5 for increased cardiovascular risks for stroke and heart attack, diabetes, and cancer, all because of poor eating habits stemming around the consumption of soda.

I remember when I was young, and it was a HUGE treat to be able to drink soda; special occasions only!  And I remember my mom always regretting the decision as we were bouncing off the walls, but it was always water and milk only, and juice with breakfast.  Granted, I am very lucky to have the mom that I do, she still treats me like her baby whenever I come home, making me snacks and meals galore!! But, even with busy working moms, who don’t have the time to cut carrot/celery sticks and have them waiting as an after school snack, there are so many healthy snack options at the grocery store to choose from, and if you fill your house and fridge with healthy stuff, your children will learn to eat healthy stuff and that it tastes good!

So, please try to limit soda intake for younger kids and allow them healthy choices when you can control what they eat, so they learn what’s healthy, and we can only hope they continue that path as they grow up and make their own choices, but try to set them up for success in life and decrease their risks for long-term illnesses as much as you can.  And, honestly, in this economy, a Brita filter for a month giving fresh clean water, is a boatload cheaper than even generic brand soda!

Yours in Good Health, and for all the little ones out there :)

B

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