MONDAY, April 22, 2019 (HealthDay News) — On any given day, 1 in 5 American youngsters don’t drink any water at all, a new survey shows.
And those who don’t end up consuming almost twice as many calories from sugar-sweetened beverages.
“Drinking water is the healthiest beverage to drink,” said study author Asher Rosinger, director of the Water, Health and Nutrition Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University. “Water is an essential nutrient that is critical to proper physiological and cognitive functioning.”
By contrast, sugary drinks “are problematic because they have been linked to many negative health conditions, such as weight gain, dental caries [cavities], and type 2 diabetes,” said Rosinger. He noted that current guidelines recommend limiting daily intake of added sugars to less than 10% of all calories consumed.
“Kids should drink water every day, and it should be the first option [parents] go to when their kids are thirsty,” Rosinger said.
In the study, data was collected from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys between 2011 and 2012 and between 2015 and 2016.
About 8,400 children (aged 2 to 19) reported whether they drank water each day (although amounts were not quantified), and how much of sugar-sweetened beverages they routinely consumed.
The latter included all non-diet sodas, sweetened fruit juices, sports drinks, energy drinks, and/or presweetened tea and coffee drinks. (Zero-calorie diet sodas and drinks, 100% fruit juices, and/or unsweetened coffee and teas were excluded.)
Among the 1 in 5 who didn’t drink any water daily, sugared-drink calories totaled 200, on average, compared with 100 calories a day among water drinkers.
Sugared-drink habits varied somewhat by race, however. For example, white non-water drinkers were found to consume more additional calories from sugared drinks than Hispanic non-water drinkers (123 extra calories per day versus 61 extra calories per day).
Regardless, are such relatively low amounts of excess calories really a big deal? Yes, say investigators, who point out that taking in an extra 3,500 calories means packing on an extra pound. That breaks down to just a little more than a month of 100 extra calories per day.