Protecting Our Granddaughters From the Ills of Sugary Drinks

Protecting Our Granddaughters From the Ills of Sugary DrinksThis Grandma is one who never says no to grandchildren except in times of safety. Even times when discipline is needed, this Grandma tries to teach the grandchildren to “freeze,” so I can run to get a parent to do the discipline. This grandma considers it her job to spoil her grandchildren at every opportunity she has. It is not this grandma’s job to be the responsible parent and raise the children to follow to follow normal boundaries and be prepared for the seriousness of adulthood. This Grandma is about fun and enjoyment of life.

Recently, on a visit with the oldest grandchildren, the grandparents went to lunch with the parents and the grandchildren. We, of course, as grandparents, always desire that we are alone with the grandchildren so we can give them whatever they would like to eat and drink. When the parents are present, we tell the grandchildren that the parents’ rules must always be followed, such as the instance that occurred at this lunch meal. The children selected what they wanted to eat which was acceptable to their parents who are very into having them eat foods that are healthy and nourishing.   The parents are rightfully concerned about the fact that almost one in four U.S. children are overweight or obese, and want the children to be mindful of what they eat.

The problem came when the grandchildren selected their drinks. Our granddaughter selected a mildly sugar drink. I personally was impressed that it was only a mildly sugary drink. Her parents told her to put the drink back and to get bottled water. Our granddaughter tried to explain that she had not had any sugary drinks recently and that she really wanted this sugary drink. The poor child had tears in her eyes.

Of course, this grandma wanted to rescue her from her parents. But this grandma knows better. The parents control when the parents are around. Even when it comes to food, most of the time this grandma understands what the parents believe is in their children’s best interest and follows it. However, it is this grandma’s job to spoil her grandchildren and here the poor child had tears in her eyes. I only hope this is the worst problem she faces in her life. The child put down the sugary drink and went and got water.

How smart are the parents of our grandchildren! On January 27, 2015, the New York Times had an article entitled, “Sugary Drinks Tied to Earlier Menstruation,” by Nicholas Bajakar. He writes that a new study has found that young girls drinking sugary drinks is associated with lower age of menstruation. He further says, “age of the first menses has decreased substantially since the early 20th century, and studies have shown that the younger age of minorities is associated with increased risk of breast and endometrial cancer in later life.”

The study showed that “after controlling for birth weight, maternal age and panache, physical activity, and many dietary and behavioral factors, they found that girls who drank one and one half 12 ounce cans a day of nondiet soda or sugared iced tea” had their first period “an average of 2.7 months earlier than those who drank less than two cans a week” the author of the study, Karin B. Michels, an associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard said that “sugared beverages are not healthy to begin with and there should be heightened attention to avoiding them”

This grandma’s mantra is that grandparenting should be all joy and no responsibility. It is the parents who must be responsible. It seems, though, that responsibility about food and drink has been foisted on all of us who have children and grandchildren. In another study reported in the Miami Herald, February 2, 2015, the CDC found that about seven in ten toddler dinners have too much salt, and that most cereal bars, breakfast pastries, and snacks for infants and toddlers contain too much sugar. I find myself reaching for all items that show “no added sugar,” or 50% sugar when buying for grandchildren.

This Grandma has to now admit that sugared beverages, cereal bars, and breakfast pastries are coming off the shopping list for the times the grandchildren visit. The CDC and other researchers have shown us the downside is just too great. When parents speak, grandma listens. . . .most of the time. With sugared beverages and snacks, listening now is going to be more of most of the time. After all, this Grandma has to balance never saying no. Parents are there day in and day out and grandparents’ time is a special treat—once in a while may still be okay.








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