Although they lack many necessary nutrients and accelerate
tooth decay, soft drinks have been shown to provide up to
one-quarter of all the calories eaten by children and adolescents.
Another problem with these beverages is that the more of them
kids drink, the less milk and juice they drink. Is soft-drink
consumption also associated with eating fewer fruits and vegetables?
More than 500 students in grades four through six in Houston,
Texas, provided diet records in their classrooms for 3-7 days.
The results of this study, published in the American Journal
of Public Health, showed that sweetened beverages accounted
for 51% of the volume of beverages drank by students each
day (soft drinks and fruit-flavored drinks were both considered
study also showed that students who drank the most sweetened
beverages ate 62% less fruit than students who drank the least.
Additionally, those who drank the most sweetened beverages
consumed about 330 more calories per day (and consumed more
high-fat vegetables) than those who did not consume any sweetened
Fruits and true fruit juices provide nutrients that reduce
risks for sickness and chronic diseases, and not drinking
enough of them as a child may lead to bad habits lasting into
adulthood. Obviously, if a child is filling up on sugary drinks,
he or she won't have room for other, healthier foods and drinks,
and may be consuming too many calories in the process.
Cullen KW, Ash DM, et al. Intake of soft drinks, fruit-flavored
beverages, and fruits and vegetables by children in grades
4 through 6. American Journal of Public Health 2002:92(9),
For more nutrition information, go to http://www.chiroweb.com/find/archives/nutrition.