Don't Drink Those Calories
By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD
A new study published in the International Journal of Obesity has confirmed what health experts have known for years: that intakes of soft drinks are linked with excess weight gain. The Australian study recruited 268 children and monitored their Body Mass Index and eating habits for 24 hours.
Five years later, the children had their Body Mass Index measured again. Those children who were overweight or obese at the end of the study consumed, on average, an extra 10g of carbohydrate a day from soft drinks compared to those who were a normal weight.
Many studies have shown that sugary soft drinks are linked with obesity in children and teenagers – and this research adds fuel to the fire. Squashes, cordials and fizzy drinks are usually packed with calories and sugars, but little else. A can of cola, for example, contains around 140 calories, 7 teaspoons of sugar but no nutrients. Swapping a daily can for a glass of water will save 51,100 calories in a year – or enough to lose 14lb!
Follow this guide for the best drinks for children (and adults)…
Health experts agree it’s the best drink for children. Water is free from calories, fat, sugar, salt and additives and it doesn’t damage teeth.
- Calories per 200ml glass: 0
After water, milk is a good drink for children and teenagers. It contains protein, vitamins and minerals and is an especially good source of calcium, needed for strong, healthy bones and teeth. Milk contains a naturally occurring sugar called lactose, but this doesn’t damage teeth when consumed in milk.
- Calories per 200ml semi-skimmed milk: 92
It provides several vitamins including vitamin C but the naturally occurring sugars and acids can damage teeth. Fruit juices only count as one of the five recommended daily servings of fruit and veg – no matter how much is consumed. This is because they contain less fibre than fresh fruit and are potentially more harmful to teeth.
- Calories per 200ml orange juice: 72
They can contain large amounts of sugars. Even ‘reduced-sugar’ squashes may have sugar added, so always check the label.
- Calories per 200ml orange squash:
Fruit and juice drinks
They may look like the real thing but are often just a mixture of water, sugar, flavourings, colourings and added vitamins. Always check the ingredients first.
- Calories per 200ml ready-to-drink
juice drink: 74
They usually contain protein, calcium and some B vitamins, but can also be loaded with sugar, flavourings and other additives. Check the ingredients list and avoid those containing added sugar.
- Calories per
200ml ready-made milkshake: 176
Fizzy drinks and sports drinks
Lots of sugar and little else. Many are also acidic, which can harm teeth. Even ‘diet’ fizzy drinks can be acidic and so if drunk frequently, can damage the tooth enamel.
- Calories per 200ml cola: 85
Use the tools and resources of Weight Loss Resources to check your diet is healthy and balanced. Try it free for 24 hours.