Sugar Bites!! Protect Your Child

Sugar Bites


One of the things that kills me to see, is a toddler toting a sippy cup filled with apple juice. The sugar in the juice is a double whammy – ruining a nascent set of teeth and setting the child up for a lifelong addiction to obesity inducing, nutrient poor, liquid calories.

A great public health initiative in San Francisco’s East Bay area is aiming to educate parents on the dangers of sugary drinks:

Ads in English and Spanish will appear on BART platforms, transit shelters, convenience store windows and in check-cashing facilities in Bay Point, Concord, Pittsburg, Richmond and San Pablo. The goal is to draw attention to the sugar in soda, flavored milk and juice boxes. Read more from the Mercury News…

If you’re thinking to yourself, “I know soda is bad, but apple juice has vitamins and healthy things for my child”, sorry – you have been duped.

A child size apple juice (4 ounces = half a cup) has over 3 teaspoons of sugar! Meanwhile it has no fiber, and barely any vitamins (unless vitamin C has been added artificially). Much better to teach your young child to chew on a real apple (peeled and cut).

If your children are drinking sugary beverages regularly, one of the best things you can do to ensure their health, is to wean them off this habit and switch exclusively to water. (Note: It usually helps if mom and dad provide a good example by drinking water as well…)

  • Nisse

    I completely agree and have been doing this for a decade already. My main motivator was the fact that my now 11 years old son became irritated and difficult whenever I gave him juice of any sort as a toddler. This liquid form of sugar made him so high, that I became worried that he might have diabetes or some other carbohydrate-related disorder. Luckily this was not the case. Now there is a similar situation with our younger son serving as a reminder, that juice is really not good or healthy. For us parents either.

    Our whole family have water or occasionally milk (for the 3-year-old) at almost all meals and we all have learned to even prefer it so. Even at McDonalds my elder son orders water with his nuggets and fries. He tried soda once for the experience and claimed soon, in the middle of the meal, that it was a bad idea. The reason? He claimed that it didn’t slake his thirst. I have reasoned that it was so because sugar supposedy removes water from our bodies, thus soda( the non-light kind, don’t get me stated on artificial sweetners!) or juice can’t remove thirst effectively but can only create more thirst. To give more credit to this theory, I have also noticed that every time I am thirsty and have a glass of juice/soda, I become thirsty again very soon and crave more. If I give in to my craving for more juice/soda it can escalate to a veritable drinking binge and soon a whole bottle (1,5 to 2 litres) has been consumed. I feel bloated, irritable an still somewhat thirsty. This does not happen with water, seldom does thirst come back when I slake my initial thirst with water.

    • Fooducate

      Great story! Thanks for sharing

  • Catherine

    I had the benefit of seeing my older sisters fall into the trap of giving their kids sugary drinks and then battling to try and get their kids to drink water. One of my nieces even needed extensive dental work by the time she was 4. My nephew is so addicted to soda and that is all he drinks (and he has lots of health problems at 19). I only gave my kids water and they still prefer it and drink it almost exclusively (they are 10 and 7 now). Sometimes when we are in hotels (we travel a fair bit) they will ask for juice as well as water with breakfast but never even finish it. Soooo glad I made that choice. That old saying ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ certainly proved right for me.

    • Fooducate

      Good for you and your kids Catherine!

  • First 5 Contra Costa

    Thanks so much for writing this blog about our new campaign. We hope it helps parents to establish healthy habits for their children that will last a lifetime. People interested in learning more can visit the campaign website:

  • Mirinda @MakeMyPlate

    Great post! Some people simply are not aware of the harmful effects of processed juices and even sugar in general – its bad for us adults and even worse for growing children – the health initiative is inspiring hope to see more of these throughout other cities!

  • Jen

    We were very lucky in that my son tried a couple sips of soda at age 2 and (after a bunch of other junk food, it was a holiday party) threw up later that night. He assumed that the soda made him throw up and wouldn’t touch it after that (we didn’t correct him!). This lasted until he was about 6. Now he drinks soda as often as he’s allowed, which is not that often. He drinks a little juice with dinner, usually once a day, and it’s usually one small glass watered down halfway. He never complains that it’s watered down. I think the biggest problem with juice is that a lot of people think it’s really healthy and drink it instead of soda thinking they’re doing themselves a favor. Juice is marginally better than soda (at least it’s not full of chemicals), but it really is just a cup full of sugar.

  • eve

    I give my one year old juice once in a while but I always put more water than juice

  • dilly

    I don’t like how flavorless water is. Although, I am ok with drinking water with natural flavor. If anyone finds Trevi essence water at their supermarket, I recommend you try it.