Not too long ago, sugar hit the headlines again when leading scientists told reporters that children should be given water instead of sweet drinks. The sugar industry hit back saying that one ingredient shouldn’t be demonized. But who won?
Future Generation Early Learning Center, offering childhood learning center in Bloomfield New Jersey, understands the importance of keeping young learners in their best shape. So let’s talk about how you can lead a child to water.
Trying to get a child to choose water over juice, in itself, is already a losing battle. We can cut the fruit in half, squeeze them on, talk about the sugar content, the fiber left behind and how our bodies use both…but up to what extent can we go through all these?
This may look like a storm in a teacup, but there is a growing re-think on the health benefits of juice. Upon announcing the recommendations for cutting sugar consumption, sugary drinks were identified as a problem. Children should get into the habit of drinking water, and families should put water on the table.
It’s a myth to say that fruit juice shares the same intact content as the fruit itself. Here are two straight facts to ponder upon:
1. Fruit juices have much sugar as many classical sugar drinks.
2. Fruit juices are rapidly absorbed in the body. So by the time it gets to your stomach, your body doesn’t know whether it’s Coca-Cola or orange juice.
Soft or energy drinks are becoming the largest single source of sugar for teenagers, while soft drinks, confectionery and fruit juice are the biggest sugar sources for children. The message is clear: Healthy habits must be established early.
But how do we make the break?
It’s not easy to change perceptions of sweet drinks, many of which dominate supermarket aisles with bright colors and enticing flavors. In comparison, water just isn’t very exciting.
The Rx: Let’s make water fun!
- Let your children choose a straw or cup to make it interesting.
- Since taste is essential, use cups or bottles that have been used for other drinks to affect flavor.
- Make sure water tastes nice and fresh.
- Add some ice or a slice of lemon.
- If your kid’s reluctant to change, gradually dilute juice with water and be clear about consumption guidelines.
But if parents are confused, children will be too. The distinction between fruit juices, which are seen as ‘natural,’ and manufactured drinks, which are largely perceived as being ‘unnatural,’ is not entirely clear, as both types can contribute to tooth decay or weight problems.
While water should provide most hydration needs, there are still benefits from drinking orange juice:
- It increases iron absorption at breakfast.
- It’s an excellent source of potassium, keeping blood pressure normal.
So the answer, it seems, lies in moderation and parents must decide. But while the debate over sweet drinks is likely to continue, water is so far the undisputed winner.