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# Sweet Drinks and Obesity (page 3)

### How Bad Is Soda Really?

To fully understand the impact of soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages, consider how the extra calories from these drinks translates into pounds. Remember that 1 pound of fat equals 3,500 calories.

• If a child drinks one soda and two glasses of Kool-Aid each day, they are consuming roughly:

150 calories for the glass of soda
240 calories for two glass of Kool-Aid (120 calories each glass)
TOTAL: 390 calories a day

• The one soda and two glasses of Kool-Aid equals 390 calories each day.

• If a child drinks one soda and two glasses of Kool-Aid each day for one year, they're consuming:

142,000 calories a year
390 calories a day for 365 days in a year = 142,000 calories

• Since 1 pound equals 3,500 calories:

142,000 calories at 3,500 calories per pound = 40 pounds

• That means 142,000 calories over a year is 40 pounds of weight a year.

What seemed like a harmless glass of soda and two glasses of Kool-Aid a day is equal to roughly 40 pounds of weight gain over a year. Children rarely burn all of these extra calories through exercise and activity. Even if a child only has one soda a day, it leads to 15.6 pounds of weight a year.

### What Can You Do?

The best thing for children and their parents is to limit or eliminate drinking juice, soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages.

Instead of soda, juice and other sweetened beverages, your child should drink water. Water has everything you need and nothing you don't. The benefits of water include the following:

• Has no added sodium to make you thirstier
• Has zero calories

In addition to water, children can drink nonfat milk and beverages with little or no sodium and five or less calories per serving, such as:

• Sparkling water, without sugar added
• Diet soda and low-calorie beverages like Crystal Light consumed occasionally as a treat

Remember, children should consume two to four servings of calcium-rich foods a day like non-fat or 1 percent milk.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Children's Hospital.
Last updated May 8, 2007

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.

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