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Dangerous Assumption: Sugary Sports Drinks Are Part Of A Healthy Lifestyle

September 27, 2010: 03:23 PM EST

Children who consume large amounts of sugary sports drinks are damaging their health, even if they eat healthy foods and are physically active, a U.S. study has found. The problem is the perception among parents and children that sports drinks are part of a healthy lifestyle despite the fact that they are loaded with sugar and lack any nutrients. The researchers looked at the links between consumption of beverages sweetened with sugar or high fructose corn syrup, eating unhealthy and healthy foods and levels of physical activity among 8th and 11th graders. They found that consumption of sugary sports drinks – but not sugary sodas – increased as healthy food consumption and physical activity increased. Though marketed as healthy beverages, sports drinks “have minimal fruit juice and contain unnecessary calories.”

Nalini Ranjit, et al., "Dietary and Activity Correlates of Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption Among Adolescents", Pediatrics, September 27, 2010, © American Academy of Pediatrics
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