By Dr. Dave Hnida

(CBS4) – Two major medical groups have joined forces to fire a salvo against sugary beverages such as soda and energy drinks. The American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics say enough is enough, or in this case, too much, when it comes to the amount of sugar in the typical American kid’s diet.

That amount being 30 pounds per year.

So in a joint policy release, they say there needs to be some limits—and to get there—added rules, regulations, and money to fight the sweetness.

The groups say there’s good reason for caring about the amount of sugar a child or teen takes in, namely higher rates of obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and fatty liver disease.

Basically disorders of older people, not children.

Since action to cut tobacco and alcohol use have worked with measures like these, it’s time to add sugar to the list of “unhealthy to the body list,” at least in the amounts typical for an American kid.

The new guidelines for added sugar in drinks include:

An excise tax on sweetened drinks, meaning tax the manufacturer (who will then most likely pass that cost onto you).

Limitations on the marketing of sugary drinks to children, whether it be ion TV, in movies, or online.

Regulations that mandate the listing of sugar content on nutrition labels as well as labels.

And making mild or water the “default” beverages in children’s meals or menus.

The Beverage Industry counters that measures such as excise taxes aren’t the answer; instead it’s “parents who should be put in the driver’s seat to decide what’s best for their child”.

And that response is a reasonable one. However, I’m not sure we as parents pay that close attention to what makes up that 30 pounds of added sugar per year, most of which comes in drinks.

For example, the average child 2-18 should take in no more than 3-6 teaspoons a day.

That’s not much especially when you look at these contents:

The average soda: 10 teaspoons of added sugar

Sports drink: up to 12 teaspoons

Energy drink: up to 13 teaspoons

Fruit punch: up to 14 teaspoons

And the list goes on.

Bottom line, two big groups have come out with a not-so-sweet message: help your child stay healthier, or pay the price…both literally and literally —in cost and health.



Dr. Dave Hnida


Leave a Reply