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Letters to the Editor

July 5, 2014

In Your Opinion: Sugar is sugar; water is better

Summer fun is on the horizon and those perennial Kool-aid ads are starting to appear on TV. 

While most moms are aware that sugary drinks such as Kood-aid and soda can lead to childhood obesity, some might be alarmed by the amount of sugar in so-called sports drinks.

A 20-ounce bottle of orange Gatorade contains 34 grams of sugar (more than 8 teaspoons). 

The same size bottle of Mountain Dew contains 76 grams of sugar (that’s 19 teaspoons of sugar!).

Such drinks fill kids with empty calories that have no nutritional value. To compensate for the empty calories consumed, children tend to eat more to refuel.

What’s a mother to do? She is not only in charge of providing quality refreshments, but quantity is another issue. When former New York City Mayor Bloomberg attempted to introduce legislation banning 32-ounce sodas in convenience stores and sports stadiums, constituents condemned the idea of a “Nanny State.”

The legislation failed, placing the responsibility for childhood obesity squarely on parents.

In response, parents can read labels to determine what ingredients drinks contain. Do not be fooled by sugar alternatives. High-fructose corn syrup, corn sweetener, agave, honey and molasses are all forms of sugar. 

So, this is a gentle reminder to parents to be aware. Read labels to determine sugar content, limit sports drinks and sugary fruit concentrates. Provide kids with fresh, cold water, 100 percent fruit juice and lowfat milk ... all good alternatives to keep kids hydrated.

Marcia Kozubek

Oneonta

Kozubek is a research assist at Bassett Medical Center.

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