How much sweet and fizzy beverages like cola, fruit juice and sports drinks should you allow your children, and what are the effects of drinking them to excess?
Combining water, added sugar, fruit extract and additives, these drinks are low in nutrition and high in calories. That often means excessive consumption of sugar. For example, a 320-ml container of fruit juice has an average 31.7 g of sugar, or 32 percent of the daily recommended intake. This raises the risk of obesity, tooth decay and unhealthy levels of lipids in the blood.
In a survey by Gacheon University based on data from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of 62,276 students at 799 middle and high schools nationwide, the teens were asked how often they consumed soft drinks or sweetened beverages in an average week. Thirty-eight percent said they have more than one sweetened drink daily.
Drinking such beverages is directly related to their lifestyle habits. Among those who said they skip breakfast more than five times per week, 42.53 percent drink sweetened drinks daily. Of those downing them less than three times a week, only 29.71 percent said they skip breakfast more than five times per week.
"Youngsters who skip breakfast and instead eat in convenience stores or supermarkets had a much higher tendency to drink sweetened beverages," researchers said.
Among those who said they felt a lot of stress, 42.65 percent said they drink more than one sweetened drink a day. Researchers said, "When stressed, the consumption of sweetened drinks has the temporary effect of releasing a dopamine-like hormone that alleviates stress."
In addition, those who smoke or drink alcohol are more likely to have more than one sweetened drink per day than non-smokers or teetotalers.