A friend recently kicked her daily soft drink habit after deciding if she wasn't going to give soft drink to her children she wasn't going to drink it either. Yay for her! Hearing this turned my thoughts to sweet drinks - soft drinks or as they're called in other parts of the world soda or pop. And fruit juice fits the same sweet drink category.
Before getting into the sugar and fizz of this topic, I want to share a snapshot of my own continuing wholefood evolution because I don't intend anything I write here to sound judgemental or induce guilt in readers for where they're at on their road to eating and living well.
I grew up in a single parent household where my mum had a real interest in cooking but like many working mothers, single or partnered, she was often exhausted and resorted to take away meals easily. She was 'doing her best'. Meals my Mum prepared and taught me to prepare could be described as Mediterranean - in warmer months Greek salad every night with fish, chicken or , in cooler months soups, stews, lasagne, and some meat and three veg. My brother and I developed a taste for garlic, olive oil, olives, fetta, calamari, spanakopita, good bread and the like at an early age. The flip side of all that goodness was sweet breakfast cereal, sweet biscuits, potato chips, fruit drink concentrate, margarine, chocolate chip muesli bars, ice cream were all brought home in the weekly grocery shop and take away dinners happened about twice a week, including the fast food variety.
Soft drink though was a no go. Our neighbours bought a crate of soft drink from the Loy's soft drink truck that drove around the neighbourhood selling bottles of the colourful, fizzy, sugar laden pop door-to-door. My brother and I were fascinated that our friends were allowed to drink it and we weren't. During my teenage years I never had a taste for coke or lemonade, I did though drink flavoured mineral water as I somehow thought that to be more virtuous than soft drinks and actually prefered the fruity flavour over the straight sweet stuff.
These days, given how widely publicised the sugar content of soft drinks is I can't understand that people still drink the stuff. And seeing a toddler in a pram drinking a can of coke is not a good look, or more importantly a good health foundation.
And if you're thinking fruit juice is a better option because its made from fruit, I'd say its time to re-think that too. Eating fruit and benefiting from the fibre is better than drinking the juice alone. Fruit sugar is still sugar. This article highlights how fruit sugar is harmful to growing teeth. I occasionally bought organic apple juice to have at home, but since our sugar detox I have stopped buying it. If my children are offered fruit juice at a friend's house or from time to time when we are out shopping or at a cafe they enjoy fruit juice then.
Water is the best option for children (& adults) and the information below shows why.
The approximate number of teaspoons of sugar in the following drinks:
250 ml tetra pack of Ribena - 9
600ml bottle of soft drink - 20
250ml bottle of apple juice drink - 7
300ml carton flavoured milk - 7
375ml bottle of soft drink - 10
375ml can of flavoured mineral water - 11
taken from Go For Your Life
Glass of water anyone? We'll save the filtered water discussion for another day.