Weighing In: What's wrong with children drinking plain water?

Published on Saturday, 26 April 2014 18:04 - Written by Coshandra Dillard cdillard@tylerpaper.com

We’ve come down on soda in recent years because people understand that it’s packed with sugar and preservatives that are hard on their teeth and body.

Even diet soda has gotten the boot. Its manufactured chemicals and links to heart disease in post-menopausal women have resulted in a nosedive in diet soda sales.

I’m just waiting for the spotlight to be cast on fruit juice. I love a good apple or grape juice, but because I try to avoid drinking calories, I don’t feel like I’m missing out.

The problem is, we give it too often to children. If they’re not drinking sugary, flavored milk, they’re opting for a fruit juice — two or more times a day.

They get used to it, and only rely on a sweet beverage to quench their thirst. They drink it for breakfast. They drink it with lunch. They drink it for a snack. What do we have against children drinking water?

I feel like we have enough problems with adult obesity, so why should we pass on those same bad habits that lead us astray to our children?

Again, it’s an issue of food culture and convenience. While commercial fruit juice has been around for decades, the portions are larger and it’s more readily available — not just at breakfast time.

And juice isn’t always what we think it is. Some products boast of “100 percent fruit juice” or “naked” and “all natural,” but we all know it’s often a marketing guise. Some juices have added sugar and other ingredients, and even if they don’t, you still get several teaspoons of sugar in one serving. Excessive consumption of sugar has been linked to obesity, poor oral health, heart disease and other conditions.

In a previous column about diet soda, I amplified the importance of drinking water. We take it for granted. It’s a sustainer of life. I understand drinking water can be boring, but that one action is a small step toward healthy living.

Most importantly, stressing this simple act to children establishes a lifelong habit that could potentially reduce their chances of chronic illness.