The campaign of public health advocates against sugar-sweetened sodas could have had an unintended consequence: teens drink more sugar-sweetened sports drinks.
Drinks shown in ads are consumed by impossibly suitable athletes and named after fruits like mango, kiwi and blackberry are aggressively marketed to teens. The packaging and displays make them a healthy alternative to sugary soft drinks that are widely blamed for obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, and other illnesses.
Now, researchers at Harvard University have found a small but significant increase in weekly consumption of high-carbohydrate sports drinks among teenagers. The study, which will be published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, analyzed national data from the National Survey on Physical Activity and Nutrition of Adolescents in 201
More than 57 percent of surveyed over 22,000 high school students  reported 2015 of at least one sports drink in the previous week, down from 56 percent in 2010.
Conversely, there was a 7.6 percent decline between 2007 and 2015
The Harvard study also found that 31 percent of adolescents consumed between one and three sports drinks last week, and about 12 percent said they had consumed soda to consume four to six such drinks.
Teens who participated in one or more sports teams probably consumed one or more sports drinks every day.
Such were teenagers who watched television for more than two hours, which researchers called a "worrying" reflection of the link between television, advertising and obesity. "
Boys were more likely than girls to devour drinks, while Hispanic and black adolescents consumed more sports drinks than white children, researchers found.
But nutrition experts warn that an average child – certainly not one in front of a TV – Do not need a sports drink that's loaded with electrolytes and carbohydrates, flavors, and sweeteners.
"The better option is water or unsweetened drinks," said Nyree Dardarian, a licensed dietician and director of the Center for Integrated Nutrition and Performance at Drexel University , There is no reason to consume all the carbohydrates in sports drinks unless you attend a high intensity game, not at a high school football or softball practice,
Has a 20 ounce bottle of orange agate a hefty 34 grams of sugar, 36 grams of carbs and 140 calories. Consume two or more sports drinks every week and over a year can translate into extra pounds, said Dardarian.
"Do not drink your calories," said Dardarian. A more positive message would be to eat the calories. Water and an orange would provide 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin C for children ages 4 to 18 plus fiber, she said.
Healthier options for children include aromatizing water by squeezing fresh fruit into it, adding a splash to fruit juice or flavored gods, she said.
The same advice applies to adults. Rehydrate after a yoga class with a freshly squeezed juice adds 200 or more unnecessary calories t o your diet, she said.
There are occasions where a sports drink is appropriate, Dardarian said. A cyclist planning a 100-mile ride, or a kid at a football tournament, may want to use sports drinks to consume enough fluids.
"If the child only plays for 20 minutes or rolls into the game, it only needs water," said Dardarian.
Overall, Americans have consumed fewer calories from the sugary drinks in recent years. Since the advent of Philadelphia's tax on sweetened Drinks, Philadelphians are 64 percent less likely to swallow a sports drink, researchers from Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University concluded Their study results were published in the April 12 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Published:  6 May 2018 – 3:01 AM EDT