Pediatrics Professor: Kids Double Down on Diet Drinks

Aug. 22, 2012

Miriam VosA study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that the number of U.S. children who drink sugar-free beverages has doubled in the past decade.

Study coauthor Miriam B. Vos, assistant professor of pediatrics at Emory, said in a Reuters article that she was not surprised by the findings, though the size of the increase was a bit unexpected.

Vos and her colleagues at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the National Institutes of Health found that by 2008, 12.5 percent of children were drinking artificially sweetened beverages – up from 6.1 percent a decade earlier. The study also noted that the proportion of adults drinking diet beverages had also risen over the same period, from 18.7 percent to 24.1 percent. The health implications of the pattern are unclear.

“We do want children to drink less sugar,” Vos told Reuters. “But the challenge is that there are no studies that have looked at the long-term health effects of artificial sweeteners in growing children.”

That doesn’t mean they’re unsafe. Vos told Reuters that animal research has raised some potential concerns. For instance, animals fed artificial sweeteners have shown weight gain - suggesting there could be some effect on metabolism.

“We don't know if anything like that happens in children,” said Vos. And before there any broad recommendations stating that children are better off with diet drinks than with sugar-laden drinks, Vos said more research is needed into their relative impact on weight and health.

To read the entire article, click here

To read the study abstract, click here.

— Steve Frandzel

In the below video, Vos discusses the overabundance of sugar kids are consuming.

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