Q: Is it unhealthy for teens to drink soda?
A: Although soda in moderation isn't a problem, consuming too much can lead to health problems. Soft drinks have become the main beverage for many people and may provide up to 20 percent of their calories per day.
Refined sugar, found in soda, can cause tooth decay. Caffeine, found in most colas, is a mildly addictive stimulant. In addition, it increases the amount of calcium eliminated in the urine.
Soft drinks provide sugar and calories and little else. A 12-ounce can of regular soda contains 150 calories and 9 to 11 teaspoons of sugar (45 to 55 grams - almost 2 ounces of sugar per can.)
The empty calories in soft drinks can lead to obesity.
Here are some tips to help you reverse the trend;
- Lead by example. If you drink too much soda, cut back. One to 2 a WEEK is plenty.
- Limit the number of soft drinks your children can have.
- Encourage water as a thirst-quencher.
- To make water more appealing, keep it refrigerated or consider a home water cooler.
- Encourage water with meals and snacks, including meals at fast-food restaurants.
- Make sure your water is CLEAN and free of chlorine. That's another issue requiring attention.