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Reminder to parents: cut out the sugary sweets (Opinion)

November 5, 2011

Researchers are citing sugary drinks and snacks as a prime cause for the dramatic rise in Childhood Obesity and the related increases in Type II Diabetes and Heart Disease in children and teens. Here in Rhode Island the State Health Department has launched a campaign to curb children’s sugar consumption. Buses, radio, TV and newspaper ads are reminding parents to “Cut the Sugar”.

Even if you seldom buy a 5 pound bag of sugar, that other form of sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, or HFCS is found in foods like breakfast cereals, spaghetti sauce, ketchup and even toothpaste! It is most heavily used as a sweetener in soda, providing 55 percent of many children’s daily calories.

Drinking one 12oz can of HFCS sweetened soda is the equivalent of eating 4 chocolate chip cookies!

Unfortunately many kids are drinking the soda and eating the cookies too. Eliminating sugar entirely might not be completely realistic, but greatly reducing the amount of HFCS your family consumes is the No.1 way to improve your family’s present and future health. For less resistance and better results begin to make changes gradually. Slowly, your family’s taste for sugar will diminish and favorite snacks and soda will be greeted with, “… eeew this is too sweet!”

Here are several suggestions:
Start with Soda.
Find out what your kids like best … the taste, or the bubbles.
If it is the bubbles:
Buy naturally flavored, unsweetened seltzers. Polar BeveragesTM make great flavors.
If it is the taste:
Limit the amount of soda served by adding plenty of ice.
Cut soda with unsweetened, flavored seltzer.
Slowly, over time decrease the soda and increase the seltzer.
Consider purchasing a soda maker. It is a fun item, makes noises your kids will find hilarious and lends itself to healthy, drink creations, just stick to the all-natural, unsweetened flavor essences that come with it and avoid the others.

For more information pick up a copy of the Chariho Times

Southern Rhode Island Newspapers
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