Glow on the Go - SLIM Broth
Current Post:

Are Sodas a Culprit in Early Puberty?

Girls are reaching puberty earlier and earlier, and a new Harvard study points to a possible culprit: sugary drinks. Here’s a look at why these drinks may be causing girls to grow up too fast.

← Return to Smart Patient page Related Resources:

Articles

Have you ever wondered why your body would produce hormones that promote the synthesis and storage of body fat? Especially…

I know that being slim is at the top of your wish list, and it’s a big deal for me…

One of the first things I tell my patients is to eliminate dairy foods from their diets. And I won’t…

No doubt about it—summer can be cruel to your skin. You’re probably defending yourself already, with floppy hats and sunscreen.…

Is someone you love suffering from Alzheimer’s disease? If so, you know how devastating this tragic disease is—not only for…

Remember the last time you had hours to relax, read a novel, go for a swim, get your nails done,…

Every time I walk into a gym, I’m always shocked to see just how crowded the treadmills and ellipticals are.…

I’m all about being healthy, but hey… I also believe in living it up a little! So if you run…

When you stagger out of bed in the morning, does that first cup of coffee bring you back to life?…

Are Sodas a Culprit in Early Puberty?

Written by Dr. Kellyann Petrucci

Some trends are good, and others are bad. And here’s one that really worries me: Girls are hitting puberty earlier and earlier.

That’s a problem, because the younger girls are when they start menstruating, the greater their lifetime risk is for breast cancer. In addition, girls who start having periods early have a greater risk of developing depression.

So what’s behind this troublesome trend? Scientists don’t know, but this week researchers at Harvard fingered one possible culprit: sugary drinks like soda and sweetened tea and fruit juice.

The researchers examined data collected from nearly 5,600 9- to 14-year-old girls between 1996 and 2001. Controlling for body mass index, food intake, and exercise, they found that girls who drank more than one-and-a-half servings of sugary drinks per day had their first period an average of 2.7 months earlier than those who drank two or fewer sugary drinks a week.

While the researchers don’t know why early puberty and sugary drinks might be connected, they note that these drinks cause a rapid spike in insulin concentrations. That, in turn, can lead to higher concentrations of sex hormones.

While it’s too early to say conclusively that sugary drinks play a role in early puberty, they’re already linked to everything from obesity and diabetes to tooth decay. So there are more than enough reasons to break your kids’ sugary-drink habit—but not by substituting artificially-sweetened drinks, which are bad in their own way.) Here are some better alternatives:

  • Green tea
  • Herbal teas
  • Smoothies made with healthy fruits and veggies
  • Sparkling water with a couple of strawberries or orange slices tossed in
  • Coffee, for older teens

It can be tough for kids to break the sugary-drink habit, so go easy on them if they’re cranky at first (especially if you’re weaning them off caffeinated drinks). A little crabbiness is a small price to pay for making your kids healthier, and for possibly protecting a daughter from early puberty. After all—don’t our kids grow up fast enough already?

Keep thinking big and living bold!

drkellyannsign

 

Click here to subscribe