Fizz Free February is a start
I just wish it was simple to stop drinking sugar but it is tough. When my daughter was a child she was given apple juice every day—‘its fruit its healthy’ I thought. Then she wanted a fizzy drink. While I knew that Coca Cola was chemical garbage I thought lemonade would be fine as it has ‘lemons’ in the title. How wrong I was. When her energy seemed to spiral and her movements become chaotic but it took me a while to work out why.
Sugar bounce – off the walls
After school one memorable day she was given a fizzy lemonade before anything else. It turned her into a wild crazy creature. She did a handstand on the back of the settee, trying to watch the TV upside down, squealing and laughing. She refused to come down. When she did she literally bounced around the settee. She could not sit still. That was the last fizzy lemonade she consumed. She has since made fizz free a mission. As an adult she understands what it did to her. Her boys have never had any sugary fizzy drinks. They have sugar other ways and the wired up behaviour can happen. Nevertheless avoiding fizzy pop reduces the problem caused by sugars. It also helps avoid tooth decay, weight gain and ensures there is space the tummy for nutritional stuff.
Fizz Free Feb
‘Fizz Free Feb’ is a great campaign started by Southwark public health https://www.sugarsmartuk.org/resources/files/FFF_Guidance_for_Comms_Campaign.pdf Now run by Sustain under Sugar Smart https://www.sustainweb.org/news/jan21-go-fizz-free-health-climate/ It offers a lot of helpful material. https://docs.google.com/document/d/11H1HO60-uDFKxY42g0PMxD7JHDDn0sor71QARWKPa5s/edit Have fun with the cartoons, the learning about the sugar cubes in fizzy drinks proved really helpful. Focussing on Fizz Free Feb may lead to a fizz free future. I would say that once the difference in behaviour is experienced no parent will want to go back to the fizz.
Few Frightening Facts
Fizzy drinks are the largest single source of sugar for children aged 11-18. They provide an average of 29% of daily sugar intake with most containing 6 or more teaspoons of sugar per can. One can for a 7-10 year old gives them ALL their suggested sugar intake for a whole day. Sports drinks can contain as much as 17 teaspoons and are popular with teens.
Sugar free versions are not a simple answer. The sugar is replaced with chemical sweeteners. Sugar Free coke has aspartame and acesulphame potassium but we do not know how much. Nor do we know the long term health effects due to lack of research.
Water is not boring
Water is so much cheaper. It is literally ‘on tap’. It can be such a great thirst quencher. Adding a lemon slice, a lime slice or even mint leaves adds flavour. Or if a more gentle withdrawal from processed sugary drinks is needed then try using an ever smaller shot of https://www.robinsonssquash.co.uk/our-products/product-range/#SquashD in water. Remember it is chemicals so should not be a long term solution. I find mixing fizzy water with tap water makes it go further and also bridges the change away from what my Ma used to call ‘pop’.
- Recognise that ‘bad behaviour’ might be a reaction to what a child drinks or eats.
- Own the problem if you have been following the crowd and giving the garbage drinks pushed out by Coca Cola, Britvic and Pepsi. You may have to change too.
- Try a gentle introduction to better drinks not a radical change which builds resistance.
- Set a realistic time frame and think about non-sweet rewards to start.