Tips to Help You Break Your Child’s Sugary Drink Habit


Contributor: Sara Lappe, MD

From juice and fruit punch to flavored milk and soda, your child’s favorite sugary drink can lead to a multitude of not-so-sweet health problems, including tooth decay, obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

A recent study from researchers at the University of California–Davis gave more evidence toward this. After participants consumed varying prescribed levels of sweetened drinks over a two-week period, markers of cardiovascular disease worsened from baseline. If this is what happens after a two-week period, imagine what happens with years of consumption!

Since many children are so accustomed to sugary drinks, it does take time to break the bad habit. Eliminating sweetened drinks can be a big adjustment, as taste buds need to be re-trained away from the sweetness overload these drinks provide, but there are ways to ease the transition. Here are some things you and your child can do to help break the sugary drink bad habit:

If you’ve tasted artificial sweetener, you’ve probably noticed it’s much sweeter than sugar. When drinking artificially sweetened beverages, your body is still getting a hit of that super sweet flavor, so your taste buds aren’t being re-trained. Not to mention, the data on artificial sweetener is still mixed. So what are some alternative drinks options – free of sugar or artificial sweeteners – that are both tasty and good for your health?

Next time your kids are reaching for a drink, help them refrain from sipping something sweet. Their health may depend on it.

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This post is based on one of a series of articles produced by U.S. News & World Report in association with the medical experts at Cleveland Clinic.