Next time you’re deciding what to drink, you might want to consider how your beverage’s choice could impact your food choices.
Our sister site, Vibrant Wellness Journal, pointed to a study published in the journal Appetite that found that choosing water over sugary beverages leads to healthier food choices. It almost makes sense, right? Our palates adjust to our diets, so over-sweet, artificially flavored drinks could make us crave foods along those same lines. According to T. Bettina Cornwell, one of the study authors:
“Our taste preferences are heavily influenced by repeated exposure to particular foods and drinks. This begins early through exposure to meals served at home and by meal combinations offered by many restaurants. Our simple recommendation is to serve water with all meals. Restaurants easily could use water as their default drink in kids’ meal combos and charge extra for other drink alternatives.”
The study was specifically looking at the eating and drinking habits of young adults, and these findings could be an important key in combatting childhood obesity. Not only do sugary drinks mean empty calories, but they could be compounding the problem by making kids choose less healthy food.
Kids in the study who were given water tended to eat more vegetables than their peers who drank soda. Kimberly Andrews Espy – vice president for research and innovation at the University of Oregon – said:
“This important research has broad ramifications for how foods are marketed and served. Addressing the early contributors of unhealthy eating that contribute to obesity is important for our general well-being as a nation and, especially, for improving the nutritional choices our children will make over their lifetimes.”
These findings make a strong argument for feeding kids at home, where you can control their drink choices more easily than at a restaurant. Like Marion Nestle said in her recent Q&A on childhood obesity: “If you don’t want your kids drinking sodas, don’t bring them home from the supermarket.”
I’d love to hear from you guys about this! What do your kids drink? Is it easier to stick to water at home, where soda’s just totally off the table?
Image Credit: Kid Drinking photo via Shutterstock