child holding a sugary beverage

KidZ Are Already Sweet… They Don’t Need Sugar!

The data of the top-selling beverages marketed to children under 12 years of age was analyzed by expert researchers. All of the nutritional value and factors of each drink was thoroughly investigated from juices to soda and everything in between. Of course, what did researchers discover?  That drink manufacturers simply do not care when it comes to health concerns or the desire to decrease or prevent diseases among the youth. The findings show they are in business to sell their products despite the excess sugary content.

Sugary drinks accounted for almost two-thirds of children’s drink sales in 2018, according to a report published on October 16, 2019. Beverage manufacturers also spent millions of dollars on the advertising of sugar-sweetened beverages to kids in the last 12 months.

Obesity and all of its related metabolic disorders, including tooth decay, are a direct result of excessive consumption of sweets.

Researchers Reviewed:

  • Nutrition Content
  • On Package Marketing
  • Overall External Advertising

Overly sweetened beverages with added sugars and preservatives represent the majority of chosen drinks intended for and consumed by children. The concern with such products are that these drinks are large-scale factors contributing to childhood obesity, dental caries/tooth decay, and other critical health issues among the population.

The Most Common Sugary Beverages Marketed to Children

  • Fruit-flavored drinks
  • Fruit Juices
  • Flavored water
  • Variety of Soda

A report titled, “Children’s Drink FACTS 2019,” included 67 different types of sweetened and unsweetened ‘kid-friendly’ drinks from 23 well known beverage brands.

FUN FACT: Sweetened fruit drinks and flavored waters represented 62% of the $2.2 billion in children’s drink sales in 2018.

An extensive bulk of these popular brand drinks that were advertised as ‘health-conscious’ beverage choices for the family either contained zero juice at all or more than half of the recommended daily limit of added grams of sugar.

FUN FACT #2: Unsweetened drinks only accounted for 38% of children’s drink sales in 2018.

Specialty drinks which blended real fruit juice and water were the healthiest ones for children. There is still an abundance of natural sugars from the ones which are 100% real juices, but these alternative drinks contained no added artificial sweeteners or sugar cubes and are diluted by water, making them better choice.

The challenge however is reading between these blurred lines. Oftentimes, the packages of sweetened and unsweetened drinks look very similar, despite the important and distinct differences in their nutritional content and value. Many big name brands manufacturer both types of children’s drinks but they use almost identical imaging, flavor styles and signature claims on their sugar sweetened and unsweetened products. This makes it difficult to identify the no sugar added options from a consumer standpoint.

There are specific rules that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) try to implement in order to regulate the images on drink packaging so that fruit cannot be used on drinks that contain little or no juice, but the reports show that it is only recommended rather than enforced. They also suggest that each of the states should require a tax on sugary drinks and it should be indicated on the front of the packaging. The FDA is trying to push this as a way of lowering the consumption of these products which are highly targeting children as their main audience. This is a benefit to them since individuals tend to establish their eating and drinking habits during their younger developmental years. If big brands can captivate their demographic at a young age, their goal of having them as consumers for life can be accomplished.

Our KidZdent family and team of professionals are here to help educate and guide our patients and their families on these nutritional facts to not only ensure preventative care for dental health but also to improve overall health habits for everyone and their smile! 

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