Sunday, December 2, 2012

Why is Your Toddler drinking Gatorade? #GardenCuizine

Why is Your Toddler drinking Gatorade?

Last week I met a playful and smart four-year old preschooler and her loving family. Her BMI was above the 97th percentile (obese). In discussing her diet with her family, I learned that she routinely drinks Gatorade at home.

In researching this topic, I've discovered that many families indeed are offering Gatorade to their children of all ages, including those very young - ages 2 to 4.

I have nothing against sports, electrolyte replacement drinks, but that is what they are intended to be. Their target market should be athletes and those who are physically active and sweat. Athletes - NOT toddlers - can benefit by replenishing carbohydrates and electrolytes lost during physical activity with a sports drink

Electrolytes are needed for all life. Electrolytes are electrically charged ions found in our bodies' living cells. Electrolytes also enter our body from foods and beverages. Sodium and potassium are electrolytes. Sodium is lost in sweat during vigorous physical activity or endurance training. Granted, toddlers are active - some may even work up a sweat as they play hard - but in general, sports drinks should not be given to children.

According to the Academy of Pediatrics in their May 2011 Clinical Report on the appropriateness of sports drinks for children, "Frequent or excessive intake of caloric sports drinks can substantially increase the risk for overweight or obesity in children and adolescents."

Why buy Sports Drinks?
When any retail product becomes popular, sales increase and prices generally decrease. The tried and true law of supply and demand kicks in. Then, as expected, you usually see more of that particular product in stores when you're out shopping. 

The mere fact of an abundant supply can lead to eye-catching end caps in the stores, with alluring graphics and enticing prices. Next thing you know - it's in your home and being consumed by you and your family. 

Sports drinks like Gatorade have become popular and are being purchased by families who don't even engage in physical activity or sports at all. If you are an adult drinking sports drinks and you are not doing any physical activity to break a good sweat - why drink it? Don't just say, "because it tastes good."  

Sports drinks are made to taste refreshing and good. They often contain added flavors and sugar in addition to the added sodium. Read the label. Look for the calories and sodium content. Then ask yourself, do you need extra of either? Some brands may contain 50 or more calories and over 100 mg of sodium per 8-ounce serving

If you are an adult and you opt to buy sports drinks for yourself for whatever reason, check with your Pediatrician before offering the drinks to any of your children.

Keep it Simple

When it comes to children, you can't go wrong with encouraging and providing hydration from plain water. Not artificially flavored bottled waters or bottled Propel (which has 80 mg of sodium per bottle), just good 'ol plain water. 

What about Juice or Milk?
Juice is not appropriate in the treatment of dehydration according to the Academy of Pediatrics. As a beverage, they recommend to limit fruit juice to 4 to 6 ounces a day for children age 1 to 6. And for older children ages 7 to 18, juice intake should be limited to 8 to 12 ounces per day.

Low fat milk provides important nutrients, especially for growing children. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommend that children, ages 2 to 3 years, consume two 8-ounce glasses per day for dietary calcium, vitamin D, protein and other nutrients. 2 1/2 cups per day is recommended for kids ages 4 to 8. And up to 3 cups per day of low fat milk is recommended for children age 8 to adult.

If you have ANY questions or concerns regarding your child and what foods or beverages they should or should not have, please bring it to the attention of your Pediatrician and healthcare team.

Related Links
Sports and Energy Drinks  
Consumption of Sports Drinks by Children and Adolescents

Blog post Copyright (C)2012 Wind. All rights reserved.

No comments: