Childhood Obesity: Kids Crave Salt and Sugary Drinks (Video)

Study finds kids go for sugary drinks after salty snacks

girl on couch eating chips and drinking pop

Sugary drinks are a hot topic right now in the fight against obesity — especially in New York City with its big-sugary-drink ban controversy. But as big a culprit as sugar may be, salt may play as important a role.

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A new Australian study finds children who eat more salty foods tend to drink more sugar-sweetened drinks. Deakin University researchers studied the link between salt consumption and fluid intake among more than 4,000 children.

Tara Harwood did not take part in the study but is a pediatric dietitian at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital.

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 “When you eat salty foods you crave more fluid, so when these kids are craving fluid, they’re picking sweetened beverages,” says Harwood of the results. “That’s insult on top of injury because then they’re getting calorie-filled drinks that increase their weight.”

Watch your kids’ salt intake

To reduce their sugar intake, Harwood says parents should watch their child’s sodium intake. The biggest salty-food offenders:

  • Potato chips
  • French fries
  • Processed foods such as frozen snacks and meals
  • Cheese (which contains a high amount of sodium)
  • Processed meats like hot dogs, bacon, cold cuts

Replace the salty stuff

Harwood recommends cutting out these and other high-salt snacks and replacing them with lower-sodium alternative including:

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  • Fresh or frozen chicken, beef, pork or fish
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Fresh fruit
  • Whole grains, including rice, pasta, most kinds of cereals, bread
  • Dairy, including milk, yogurt and low-sodium cheese

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