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Health Experts: Avoid Packing Sugary Drinks in School Lunches

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Monday, August 22, 2022   

It's back-to-school time for kids around Iowa, and some might gravitate toward soda and other drinks with lots of sugar. As parents start lunch planning for the academic year, they're advised on what to consider and what to avoid.

Health professionals say consuming sugary drinks on a regular basis has a number of ill health effects.

Dr. Ruchi Kapoor is a cardiologist and board member with the American Heart Association. She said these drinks have more calories and don't make for good lunchbox items.

"They're not as satisfying as calories that you get from actual food, actual meals that you end up consuming at dinner or lunchtime," said Kapoor. "But because of that, you don't get full as quickly and you end up consuming a lot more of this added sugar than you would otherwise."

Kapoor said these drinks can lead to weight gain, diabetes, and high blood pressure and cholesterol. Eventually, she said they can lead to higher risks of stroke and heart attack.

Kapoor added that people consume nearly 20 teaspoons of sugar per day, which is well over twice the recommended amount.

Kapoor said water is the best alternative for people's health. She said there are natural ways to make water taste like their less healthy counterparts.

"Fruits, like a little bit of berries or some orange slices or lemon slices," said Kapoor. "Or even cucumbers, mint, rosemary. There's a lot of natural flavor out there that you can add to your water without having that downside of the added sugar that companies give you."

Sugary drinks also increase the risk of cavities, with dental experts noting that children have thinner enamel on their teeth.

With fall activities starting up again, families also are reminded to consider what sports drinks their kids are consuming during a long practice.



Disclosure: American Heart Association of Iowa contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Smoking Prevention, Women's Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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