Monday, September 8, 2008

Healthy Alternatives to Soda Pop?

How much soda pop do you drink? What about your children? Soda pop received the boot from school vending machines, but watch out because the beverage industry has only replaced the revenue they lost out on from eliminating soda with sports drinks such as Gatorade and “enhanced” VitaminWater. The companies who make these beverages, Pepsi and Coca-Cola, have spent a fortune billing them as “healthy.” However, advocates for informed public health argue that the content in these beverages of high fructose corn syrup, chemicals, and sodium should easily place them in the same category as the soda drinks and disqualify them from being stocked in vending machines.

Children will drink these beverages because they are sweet and are made popular by advertising and marketing. Children won't think twice about the fact that these drinks are not any healthier than their fizzy counterparts -- they'll just pop the coins in the machines and drink up. It's unfortunate that companies are not required to tell the truth on their products, or even worse, that they are allowed to sell such items in the first place. It is products like this and many others that are leading to the decline in our health -- and the worst part is that it is helping to set up our children for lifelong health problems including Diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

The human body needs water - and a lot of it. If you weigh 100 pounds, you should drink half of your weight in ounces each day -- so 50 ounces total. If you are currently not drinking enough water, you should work your way up gradually to avoid kidney trouble. Here are some ways to keep your child away from these dangerous drinks:
  1. Help your children stay away from sugary, chemical-filled drinks by not purchasing these products to have in your home.
  2. Limit as much as possible the amount of drinks like these your child has outside the home. If you can, pack your child's lunch. Send only water to school.
  3. When your son or daughter goes to family or friend's houses and you are not together, let your friends and family members know that you don't want your child to consume sugary drinks (except on rare occasions).
  4. Encourage your child to drink water when he or she is away from home and not under your supervision.
  5. Have conversations with school staff about removing these drinks from vending machines if they are available in your child's school. Get involved locally to help change requirements about what's served at school.
For more information about sports drinks and sodas, visit the Doc Shop.

1 comment:

Bruce S. said...

The sad thing is that sports drinks usually cost 50% more than soda. So it's actually a more profitable position for cola companies to be in.