Debunking myths about 'healthy' drinks
For years, we’ve been told that fruit juices are full of nutrients and vitamins, sport drinks are needed to replace lost fluid during workouts, and flavored milk is the nutritional equivalent of plain white milk.
Yet, recent research doesn’t support these claims. In fact, many health experts say such sweetened drinks are as unhealthy as soda and contribute to the nation’s growing obesity problem. They also say it’ll take time to dispel myths about these so-called healthy drinks.
Here are just a few misconceptions, according to health experts:
Myth: Fruit juice is a better alternative to soda.
Fact: Many experts say 100% fruit juice poses the same obesity-related health risks as soda. Ounce per ounce, it contains more calories than soda. Like soft drinks, juice is rich in fructose, a very sweet sugar. Dr. Charles Billington, an appetite researcher at the University of Minnesota, told the Los Angeles Times, juice is “pretty much the same as sugar water…there’s no need for any juice at all.”
Myth: An “all natural” or “extra calcium” label on juice bottles means it’s healthy.
Fact: These labels don’t necessarily mean the drinks are nutritious. For example, one popular citrus drink contains 100 percent of a child’s daily Vitamin C requirement, but has a very small percentage of actual fruit juice and packs a walloping 27 grams of sugar, in the form of high fructose corn syrup, in every serving.
Myth: You should drink sports drinks to rehydrate after a workout.
Fact: Sports drinks are essentially expensive diluted soft drinks, according to many nutritionists. While they contain significant carbohydrates, they offer little sodium or potassium, and generally have little other nutritional value. Sports drinks should be reserved for those individuals who exercise for more than 90 minutes or have heavy sweat losses. Most children don’t need these drinks in their diet.
Myth: It’s better to drink flavored milk than no milk at all.
Fact: Flavored milk has more calories, is highly processed, and contains unnecessary sugars and additives. It’s best to serve plain white milk, but other dairy products providing a good source of nutrition and calcium include leafy greens, soy, nuts, and beans. Exercise also contributes to good bone health.
The bottom line is children and parents should drink more water and less juice, soda, and other sweetened drinks. For tips on how to “kick the can,” visit /index.php?r=site/tag&id=571
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