The habit could lead to tooth decay, obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

From juice and fruit punch to flavored milk and soda, your child's favorite sugary drink can lead to a multitude of not-so-sweet health problems including tooth decay, obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

A long line of unbranded soda bottles in various flavors and colors, the focus on the center of the line.
A recent study from researchers at the University of California–Davis gave more evidence toward this. After participants consumed varying prescribed levels of sweetened drinks over a two-week period, markers of cardiovascular disease worsened from baseline. If this is what happens after a two-week period, imagine what happens with years of consumption!

Since many children are so accustomed to sugary drinks, it does take time to break the bad habit. Eliminating sweetened drinks can be a big adjustment, as taste buds need to be re-trained away from the sweetness overload these drinks provide, but there are ways to ease the transition. Here are some things you and your child can do to help break the sugary drink bad habit:

Decrease the frequency. If your child is having juice three times per day, start by cutting out one serving per day.

Only carry water. When out and about, carry water to quench your thirst. Athletes often wonder when they need a sports drink and surprisingly, the answer is typically never!

Water down juices. Yes, even drinks that are 100 percent juice are still loaded with sugar. Progressively add more and more water to each sweetened drink until reaching a point of almost nothing there. Caveat: Although this is a good starting point, this isn't a great long-term plan.

Stop buying sweetened drinks. Rid the house of any sweetened drinks, and take these sugary beverages off your grocery list.

Choose unsweetened sodas. Stay away from artificially sweetened sodas and instead, look for flavored drinks without the added sugar.

Make water easily accessible. Place a water pitcher in the refrigerator or on the counter, or put it in colorful, eye-catching water bottle or cup.


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