Drinking water reduces intake of sugary beverages by children

Children and young adults who do not drink water during the day drink more sugary beverages and thus consume more calories from these sugary drinks, suggests a new study published April 22, 2019 in JAMA Pediatrics. Plain water was defined in the study as tap or nonsweetened, noncarbonated bottled water.

Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) includes soda, sweetened fruit juices, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened tea and coffee drinks. They do not include 100% fruit juices, drinks sweetened with zero-calorie sweeteners, or drinks that are sweetened by the consumer, like coffee or tea brewed at home.

Analysis of data from the 2011-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey revealed that on a given day, about 20% of children reported drinking no water. No water intake was associated with intake of 92.9 kcal and 4.5% more calories from SSBs among participants aged 2 to 19 years. Additionally, those children consumed 200 calories from SSBs compared to children who did drink water.

Although the study did not establish causality, the message from the study is clear; sugar-sweetened beverages are not a substitute for water.

(Source: JAMA Pediatrics, April 22, 2019)

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