CAT | Solutions
Most parents today know that sugary soft drinks and diet sodas are unhealthy for kids and should be avoided, but results of a new study from the University of Connecticut tell us moms and dads may be offering up an equally unhealthy alternative: fruit juices, sports drinks, and flavored waters that are still loaded with harmful sugar.
“The labeling and marketing for these products imply that they are nutritious, and these misperceptions may explain why so many parents buy them,” study author Jennifer Harris told USA Today. She may be right on the money, especially since parents are inundated with labels that claim products are “low in calories” or contain “real fruit juice” and “essential nutrients,” suggesting they are a healthy option for kids.
According to the results of the study, 96% of parents surveyed said they had given their children—some as young as two years old—sugary drinks in the past month. The most popular beverages were regular soft drinks and fruit drinks, but sports drinks, sweetened ice tea, and flavored water were not far behind. What’s more, nearly 50% of parents involved in the study said they believed flavored waters were “healthy,” and more than 25% believed the same about fruit drinks and sports drinks.
Study author Marlene Schwartz believes it all comes down to product packaging—and that we need to be stricter about ingredient claims so parents are accurately informed about what their children are really putting in their bodies. At the end of the day, the healthiest choice for kids (and adults!) is fresh, purified water.
Nowadays teaching our children about good nutrition is more important than ever, especially since many kids fall short when it comes to getting the essential nutrients their growing bodies need. Several recent studies about kids’ health have warned parents about the dangers of too much sugar and not enough fiber in the diet, pointing out that such eating habits can significantly impact their health in the long run.
Up to 80% of the immune system is found in and around the digestive tract, but a high-sugar, low-fiber diet can deplete the amount of good bacteria in your child’s gut. This can lead to occasional tummy upset, poor digestion, and a decrease in healthy immune function. Probiotic supplements for kids are a safe and gentle way to help replenish the balance of good bacteria in the digestive tract and support the developing immune system.‡ Below are three key benefits of adding a daily probiotic to your child’s diet:
- Healthy Immune Function‡ Added beneficial bacteria support a healthy digestive balance and help teach the immune system to respond appropriately to outside challenges.‡
- Regular Bowel Movements‡ Regular elimination needs a healthy balance of good bacteria in the gut. Daily probiotics have been shown to help support that balance, which in turn promotes regularity and helps prevent the occasional upset tummy.‡
- Healthy Digestion‡ In addition to producing vitamins—including important B vitamins—probiotics produce digestive enzymes and support regular, balanced digestion.‡