NEW YORK, March 2 — News that kids and teens get most of their excess sugar intake from food and not beverages may throw a wrench into a controversial debate about the role soda and juice have on childhood obesity.
In a study released on February 29 out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers pointed out that kids are getting most of their excess sugar intake from processed foods including sugary cereals, granola bars, cookies and candies — not sugary drinks like soda and juice.
Meanwhile, a slew of recent studies have placed the blame of childhood obesity squarely on the soda pop and juice industries.
For example, one study found that girls who developed a taste for soda by the age of five went on to have unhealthy diets throughout their adolescence, compared to their peers who were never given the sugary drink at that young an age.
Another study from last year claimed to find a “shocking” association between teenage violence and the amount of soda they drank: high school students from Boston who consumed more than five cans of sugary soda weekly were five to 15 per cent more likely to engage in acts of violence.
And after doing a bit of number crunching, researchers out of the US also suggested that imposing a soda tax could prevent 100,000 cases of heart disease, 8,000 strokes and prevent 26,000 deaths every year.
The case against sodas and juices has motivated some countries like Hungary and France to impose such a tax, while some schools have implemented bans.
But when a team of US researchers went into schools across the country, they found that banning sugary drinks was ineffective and did little to reduce overall consumption, mainly because the kids were actively finding other ways to access them.
In the CDC study, about 16 per cent of children’s and adolescents’ total caloric intake came from added sugars. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommends limiting sugars and solid fats to between 5 and 15 per cent of daily caloric intake. — AFP-Relaxnews