Tag Archives: soda

More…on Sugary Drinks (Pedcast)

Welcome to studio 1E in Charlotte, NC. I am your pedcast host, Dr. Paul Smolen. For those of you who are new to Dosmo.com, I am the creator and curator of this podcast, which was created for parents to have a practical, portable source of pediatric information to help them in their parenting journey. From the crib to the country club, we talk about everything imaginable here. I try to give my audience what’s new in pediatrics in my weekly articles, and I try to impart more traditional pediatric information and advice in my pedcasts…what is a pedcast, you ask? That’s a podcast with pediatric content. Today I am going to talk about sugary drinks, one of the big health problems our children face today. I was reading the WSJ of all things the other day and came across an article about soda sales in the US, which is the genesis of my comments today. So, sit back and let’s talk kids and sugar, shall we?

First for the good news: “Soda sales are down!!” On average, people are buying fewer bottles of soda this year than they did last year. The average soda consumption, not including soda purchased from fountains and restaurants, was only 45 gallons per person last year. That’s down from 55 gallons just a few years earlier. Pretty bad when good news is that your child only drinks 45 gallons of sugar water per year. That’s like the CEO telling the shareholders they only lost 2 billion dollars instead of the 3 billion they lost last year, or a child telling his parents he only failed 2 classes this year instead of 3 like last year. Bad news is bad news.

You probably don’t need to think too hard to think of someone you know who drinks two or three sweet drinks a day. Think of all the sugar that is put in a soda, energy drink, sweet tea, or sugary coffee drink. If a child or an adult consumes these beverages, their bodies are being bombarded with sugar. This person’s pancreas and fat cells are presented with quite a task when these drinks come their way…where does their body put all that sugar? How can I store it fast enough to keep my blood sugar down in the healthy range??? Consumption of sugary drinks has been one of the big driving for forces behind the obesity epidemic in the US and the rest of the world. So, this is great news that the consumption of sugary drinks is beginning to wane. Sort of!

I got to thinking, why do some people not drink these drinks? What is different about these people that keeps them from all that sugar? Why aren’t they like most people? Is it the cost of the drinks that put these folks off? I doubt it. Did they not know about these drinks? Of course not: the marketers of these products are too good to let that happen. Were these people just smarter than the rest of us? Did they know something that the rest of didn’t know?  I doubt that.

No, the reason is… that some parent, grandparent, or coach just said ‘no.’  Some adult in a child’s life knew that these drinks were not good for their health and refused to facilitate its consumption. They simply didn’t buy them, and they only allowed drinking them in unusual circumstances like parties, travel, and maybe during illness. I think it is that simple. An adult put limits on a behavior that they knew was harmful.

So, if you want to be one of those parents who takes charge of the sugary drink issue, what do you do?

  • Start by setting a good example
  • Make soda a special thing, not a forbidden thing
  • Educate your child why you are not in favor of them drinking a lot of sugary drinks.
  • Point out when ads are using them as a target so they begin to recognize  how advertisers can influence  their thinking and make them want things that are not good for them
  • Another incentive to change your child’s behavior can be money. Tell them when eating out, if they refrain from ordering a cold icy soda, you will instead give them the cold hard cash that you saved. Getting water instead of soda will mean some ‘coin’ in their pocket to spend as they wish. Makes them think, doesn’t it?

Ultimately, we all do what we perceive to be in our best interest…including children. Convince your children that it is in their best interest to eat and drink a healthy diet. Do whatever you can to keep your children from the addiction of sugary drinks because, in reality, you are all that stands between them and 45 gallons of sugar water a year.  Think about it.

This is Dr. Paul Smolen, thanking you for listening today. I hope I gave you some knowledge you didn’t have before. Check out many more podcasts at my website: www.docsmo.com and on iTunes.  This is DocSmo, hoping you can keep your child’s sweets, to an occasional treat.

Until next time.

Smo Notes:

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6205a6.htm?s_cid=mm6205a6_e

America “super sized” (Pedcast)


Welcome to another edition of DocSmo.com, the pediatric blog  that gives parents practical, portable pediatrics on their time framework. I am Dr. Paul Smolen, your pedcast host. Today, I am going to bring you a different type of pedcast. Usually I try to bring you mostly factual information about a pediatric topic sprinkled with some observation from my doctor chair along with a few opinions. Not today… this is going to be “pure opinion.” I am going to get a little preachy about a topic that I feel very strongly about… childhood obesity. I am not going to candy coat the message; it’s coming straight at you like a fastball over home plate… straight and fast. So sit back and listen. Hopefully the message will come through clearly.

Oh boy, do we have our work cut out for ourselves. The obesity epidemic shows no signs of abating anytime soon. Processed foods crept into the American landscape during the 20th century slowly but surely, one soda and sweet cereal at a time. Food companies saw new markets, and they met the need. They created new foods faster than your great-grandmother could darn your parents’ socks. We became enamored by easy, fast, and satisfying. Boy have we paid a price for all this “innovation.” Yes, nutrition on the fly let us spend less time shopping and preparing, but it also has made heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension a way of life in the western world. What I read says these maladies are all about lifestyle, lifestyle, lifestyle, not genes, genes, genes. What I find ironic is that for all the money we spend on antihypertensive medicines, cholesterol lowering drugs, and insulin for our diabetics, we could probably buy groceries for every American. One of the saddest things about my job is that I see many children who have never been and probably will never be in good physical or nutritional condition. I fear that these children will become adults thinking that good food is a side salad with their value meal at the drive thru and exercise is walking to the store to get a candy bar.  What will they provide for their children when they become parents? Less than optimal food, I suspect, and little activity. They won’t know any better… and  the cycle continues. It’s easy to eat junky processed food and it’s hard to buy, cook and serve real food. Providing wholesome food is one of the most important parenting tasks facing parents.

So how are we going to get ourselves out of this nutritional mess we have created? Here is what I suggest: Start by teaching your children the difference between whole food and processed foods…and repeat the message often until they get it! Make sure you are setting a good example of eating for your children by eating the way your grandmother would have wished you would. Make it a priority to have as many family meals as possible with real food. If you have the space, plant a small garden and involve your children in cultivating vegetables. Get your children involved with the shopping and cooking process; it’s fun and you will cherish the time you spend together in the kitchen someday…I promise. Vow to get all the sweet drinks out of everyone in your families diet…no soda, no sports drinks, no sweet tea, no energy drinks, no calorie laden coffee drinks. Limit fast food to no more than once a week… No, make that “eating out anywhere” no more than once a week. And finally, lets stop making every holiday a candy fest, every fund raiser a chance to sell sweets, every celebration a gluttonous festival of food, every sporting event a sugary slurry of drinks, and every accomplishment rewarded by something to be consumed.  We can find other ways of saying good job without insulin levels off the scale. Let’s start paying more attention to what children need rather than what they want. Only then will we get it right. Well, thanks for joining me today. I feel better getting all that off my chest. Who knows, maybe I will inspire a few people to make some big life changes. I always welcome comments from my listeners. To comment, leave your thoughts on Facebook, iTunes or at my website, www.docsmo.com. Who knows, you might see them in print. This is Dr. Paul Smolen, thinking it would really dandy  if our children got less candy. Until next time.

A doctor’s advice: harsh or life changing? (Pedcast)

 

-Welcome to another edition of DocSmo.com.  I am your host, Dr. Paul Smolen, the hardest working pediatrician east of the Mississippi, bringing you pedcasts… short, informative, entertaining mp3’s discussing everything kid:  subjects ranging from the crib to the country club , from the play pen to the prom….from diapers to the dorm.   Well, you get the idea. With his permission, I am going to tell you a story about one of my patients who we call Drew that I think you might find interesting.  I did.  So sit back and listen to how a visit to the pediatrician changed Drew’s life for the better.

-Drew’s story starts at a party at the University of North Carolina a few years back…when my daughter was an undergraduate there.  Sarah, my daughter and …the web master of this blog, was introduced to Drew at this party. When introduced, he asked Sarah was she related to a  Dr. Smolen, and of course Sarah answered yes. Smolen is an unusual name and I happened to have been Derek’s doctor growing up in Charlotte.  Derek then spontaneously goes into the story of how I changed his life…  you heard me right…changed his life.  As he tells it, he was in for his routine physical where, of course,  we discuss all the routine subjects… height, weight, BP, BMI, exercise, diet etc.  It turns out that Derek was overweight at the time of this physical and his diet was very poor… lots of sweet drinks and processed food.

–His recollection of our conversation was that I was rather blunt about his weight problem and his poor diet.  I told him he had to change his diet or he might well go into the adult world being overweight and in poor health I told him that men generally reach their peak physical capacity at age 17 years and if he wasn’t healthy then, when would he be?  I strongly encouraged him to stop drinking soda, sports drinks, sweet tea, and processed foods so that his weight would normalize.  He informed me that “he was a football player and that he burned plenty of calories.”  “Everyone drank these drinks”, he explained.   At that point we had a short discussion about calorie balance I explained to him that unless one runs marathons, keeping a normal healthy weight with excess calorie intake is almost impossible. “Our weight is much more about what we eat than how much we burn. “  I explained.

-You need to understand, I have these conversations all the time with teens.  I see about 5-8 teens everyday and diet is a big part of a checkup.  I don’t remember him getting upset or angry during the visit but apparently I struck a cord.  As he tells it, “ he was very angry when I left that day.  He felt that I had been overly critical of him and he resented it.”…buuuut , the message got through.  He said the other doctors just danced around his weight but I was direct and he heard it.  Maybe he was just ready to hear it or maybe he understood that I cared about him and really wanted him to change… but for whatever reason, he decided to take action.

– After that visit, he stopped drinking soda and processed foods and his weight quickly normalized.  Activity was not his problem since he was quite athletic… it was his diet.  The short conversation we had at his checkup had truly changed his life.

-So here is what I learned from Derek’s experience:

People hear messages when they are ready to hear them…Derek was ready the day I saw him

Showing concern for someone’s well being, even if what you tell them is painful, is worth the effort.

Direct communication is the most effective way to connect with young people. My rule is, listen first, then speak.

And finally, people in positions of authority need not be afraid to use their influence in a positive way.  Children respond to honesty and direct communication.  We owe it to our kids to help them with direction and guidance when we can.  Remember, someone did it for us.

-Thanks for joining me today for this edition of DocSmo.com.  If you enjoyed this podcast, fell free to check out the myriad of other topics discussed in this blog.  And if you really get excited, write a comment about this story or any others you find interesting.  Don’t forget to “like” DocSmo on Facebook, or to subscribe on either my website www.docsmo.com, or on iTunes. This is Dr. Paul Smolen, hoping you won’t find it too strange, to adjust to inevitable life change.

Until next time

 

Why Your Child Should Avoid Sugary Drinks! (Pedcast)

A teaspoon of sugar may make the medicine go down but frequent consumption of sugary drinks can ruin your child’s health. Get Doc Smo’s input on the subject with some practical advice on how to manage soda in your home.

Subscribe on iTunes!SmoNotes:

An interesting article from the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html?emc=eta1
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