I gave up soda for Lent in 1998, and I haven't had it since. But that didn't stop me from consuming a bunch of smoothies from Jamba Juice and Frappuccinos from Starbucks when I was a teen and young adult.
The sugar content of the beverages I consumed was never something I considered until my mid-20s. I drank smoothies from Jamba Juice because their marketing team convinced me that they were healthy. And Frappuccinos gave me energy. Plus everyone was drinking them and my mom would buy them for me quite frequently.
Today children, teens and young adults are consuming far less sugary beverages than before. According to a recent study published by Elsevier, the number of children and teens consuming sugar sweetened beverages plummeted between 2003 and 2014.
Children and teens are now more educated about the detrimental effects of sugar sweetened beverages. The idea of these drinks containing empty calories and not being helpful in decreasing one's waist circumference is more known than it was several decades ago. Children and teens are taught to choose wisely when it comes to sugar and sweets. Drinks are no exception.
The one group of children and teens who did not see a huge decline in the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages are those who come from families that receive SNAP funds. Parents of these children and teens are using SNAP funds to purchase soda and juice. This suggests that, while we've come far in educating children and teens about why sugar sweetened beverages aren't the best choices, we still have more work to do.
Public health workers are looking into further restricting what items can be purchased with SNAP funds. They are also looking into more education surrounding the negative effects of drinking sugar sweetened beverages that can be specifically targeted to children and teens from families receiving SNAP funds. On the plus side, the consumption of soda did decline among this group. However, there was a sharp rise in the amount of sports and energy drinks being purchased.
Have you cut back your consumption of sugar sweetened beverages? A lot of parents have cut back, and their children and teens see them doing so, setting a good example. So keep setting a good example for the children and teens in your life. Choose to consume drinks that are not sweetened by sugar. My first recommendation is water. However, I know that not everyone enjoys drinking plain water. There's been a huge increase in the consumption of flavored sparkling water thanks to companies like La Croix and Spindrift. Schools now have flavored sparkling water for sale in vending machines on their campuses, and a lot of teens are opting for those over soda these days. But I would really like to stress that water is still the best option for staying hydrated. So if you know children and teens who are still consuming beverages other than water for hydration or to satiate their thirst, educate them.