California is known for setting trends, but this is one that Canadian parents might want to avoid. Children and teens in California are drinking less soda, but filling up on sports drinks that contain similar amounts of sweeteners and pose the same health risks as soda, according to a new study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
“There should be a warning label on flavoured water, sports and energy drinks that says, ‘We may seem like a healthy choice, but we’re loaded with sugar, too,’” says Joelle Wolstein, lead author of the study. “People seem unaware that these drinks have the same, or even higher amounts of added sweeteners as soda.”
Drinking beverages that contain added sweeteners is linked to becoming overweight or obese, increasing the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, liver disease, dental decay and other health problems.
More children drank sports and energy drinks than soda in all age groups, according to the study. Fifteen per cent of children ages 2 to 5 have one or more sports or energy drinks daily, nearly double the 8 per cent who drink one or more sodas. Rates for children 6 to 11 are 22 per cent and 18 per cent, respectively and for teens, 37 per cent and 34 per cent.