While walking early this morning, the picnic detritus after Australia Day celebrations brought to mind the initiatives aimed at cutting the consumption of soft drinks. Sadly this is shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted and particularly irritating is Coca-Cola’s holier than thou bleating about everybody “working together” to provide low-calorie options. Never mind that Coca-Cola penalises buyers by charging more for smaller quantities, puts vending machines in schools and other institutions and markets aggressively in developing nations with door-to-door sellers preying on the ignorant and ill-informed who think that a sugar drink is a healthy drink. All of that won’t go away in a hurry because it would drastically affect the bottom line of the company and good guys like New York’s Mayor Bloomberg, who has filed a lawsuit to ban jumbo-sized soft drinks, is a man with a difficult furrow to hoe.
But whatever the industry might and might not be doing, the facts are clear: sugar-containing soft drinks are devoid of nutrition, fattening, do not quench thirst and are directly linked to depression and anxiety. Don’t wait until your kids have developed a taste for them. Don’t look to manufacturers, governments or public officials to do something - do it yourself.
Your own diet during pregnancy has a huge bearing on the diet your child will favour. Wholefoods grown on healthy soil set taste-buds to appreciate subtle flavours of vegetables and fruit. Make sure your zinc status is adequate during pregnancy and breastfeeding. This ensures adequate taste sensation in your child, which means he’ll be less likely to reach for very sweet, salty or spicy food or drink. Breastfeed and offer only water when other drinks are required.
Tell your children why you do what you do, why they eat and drink what they do and always set a good example! Explain that each can of soft-drink has seven teaspoonsful of sugar which is seven teaspoonsful more than they need to fuel their brain and body! Kids can understand a story simply told and that some particular foods and drinks aren’t for daily consumption. They can also be quite righteous in their avoidance so watch out for any infringements.
They might even influence their peers! Think about that ... a young, water-drinking, soft drink-avoiding, vending machine-boycotting peer-pressure group! Bring it on!