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Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Healthier Alternatives

Filed Under:
December 5, 2018

Host: Lindsey Qui, Dietetic Intern

Speaker 1: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University extension service.

Amy Myers: Today, we're talking about sugar sweetened beverages and healthier alternatives. Hello, I'm Amy Taylor Myers, and welcome to Farm and Family. Today, we're speaking with Lindsey Qui, Mississippi State University dietetic intern. Lidsey, many appealing sugar sweetened beverages and ads appear on TV, and social media, and countless kinds of sugar sweetened beverages are sold in the market. Beverage companies design their packaging to attract consumers and especially children. Can you tell me more about the evidence and science behind this recommendation?

Lindsey Qui: The latest report of childhood obesity from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the obesity rate of children and adolescents aged ten to 17 year old in Mississippi ranks number one in the nation. Sugar sweetened beverage consumption is considered as a significant contribution to childhood obesity. There are several mechanisms have been proposed to explain the association between sugar sweetened beverage and obesity. So, first, sugar sweetened beverage contain large amounts of added sugar and a few or no key nutrients, which contribute to excessive calories intake and weight gain. The second one is the rapid drop in glucose that follows the insulin response to the consumption of foods high in sugar increases hunger and may thereby increase food consumption. The third possible mechanism is the inability of fructose. It's a sugar found, and commonly used as sweetener, to stimulate hormones that help regulate satiety. In addition to obesity, high consumption of sugar sweetened beverage is closely associated with obesity related health issues such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in life, as well as higher dental cavities prevalence. Children who consume excessive sugar sweetened beverage are more likely to consume less other healthier drinks, such as water and milk. So that's a reason and science behind this recommendation.

Amy Myers: Okay. And could you please give us a clear definition of sugar sweetened beverages?

Lindsey Qui: Sugar sweetened beverage are those that contain caloric sweeteners and include soft drinks, soda, pop, fruit drinks that are less than 100%, punches, sport drinks, tea and coffee drinks with added caloric sweeteners, energy drinks, sweetened milks, or milk alternatives.

Amy Myers: So what are some healthier alternatives of sugar sweetened beverages?

Lindsey Qui: The first alternative I recommend is definitely water. Fruit-infused water is a very good alternative if children think plain water is tasteless. Also the low-fat, referred to 1%, or skim milk is a smart choice. Lactose free soy beverage and flavored milk with no more than 22 gram of total sugars per eight ounces portion are included as well. Milk contains key nutrients, such as vitamin D, and calcium that are good for the bone health. Also it's a very good protein source. 100% juice is another healthier alternative, but we highly recommend choosing whole fruits instead of fruit juice only for fiber and other micronutrients.

Amy Myers: So how much water should we consume, and are these alternatives enough?

Lindsey Qui: Let your thirst be your guide. Everyone's need for water varies, but generally, we recommend six to eight eight ounces glass of water per day. For low fat or fat free milk, drink at least two eight ounces glasses a day. For 100% juice, drink four to six ounces a day.

Amy Myers: Okay, and could you give me some practical strategies to decrease consumption of sugar sweetened beverages?

Lindsey Qui: Parents could make water, low fat or fat free milk, or 100% juice an easy portion in your home, and also have ready-to-go containers filled with water or healthy drinks available in a refrigerator. Also place them in lunchboxes or backpacks for easy access when children are away from home. Check the nutrition facts label to choose beverage at a grocery store. Be careful with the contents of sugar and calories in your favorite beverage. Also, parents can look for creative recipes for fruit-infused water, and getting children involved to prepare it for themselves. Some good examples include blueberry orange water, watermelon water, and strawberry lemon water. Try to explore children's favorite fruits and blend them with water to make water tastier.

Amy Myers: Today we've been speaking with Lindsey Qui, dietetic intern. I'm Amy Taylor Myers and this has been Farm and Family. Have a great day.

Speaker 1: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University extension service.

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