Soda intake should not be a dietary mainstay, Katz stated. "But as this report indicates, it is. And the details here compound the indictment, indicating that soda consumption is greatest where it can least be tolerated -- among ethnic minorities already especially vulnerable to obesity and diabetes, and among young people," he said.
Another expert, Samantha Heller, clinical nutrition coordinator at the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn., said that "the real question is, why are people bringing home cases of these beverages when they have absolutely no nutritive value."
Research suggests that even low to moderate consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages can lead to increased internal inflammation, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and more, she said.
"There is no reason to give a child a soda or sugar-sweetened drink. Teens drink these beverages because they taste good, give an energy boost and they feel cool drinking them. The powerful influence of marketing and the targeting of young people cannot be ignored here," Heller said.
"While we are responsible for what we choose to bring into our kitchens, the food companies need to step up to the plate and stop the heavy marketing of unhealthy foods like sodas, to kids," she added.
"For our part, giving kids water, low-fat milk, and 100 percent juice in limited quantities is a good place to start," she said. "If your family loves sugar-sweetened beverages then begin a slow switch to seltzer, flavored seltzers and un-presweetened teas. Keep pitchers of water in the refrigerator with slices of oranges, ginger or cucumbers for flavor," Heller advised.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has more about healthful eating.
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