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:
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?
THIS SITE OFFERS HEALTH, WELLNESS, FITNESS AND NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION AND IS DESIGNED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. YOU SHOULD NOT RELY ON THIS INFORMATION AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR, NOR DOES IT REPLACE, PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS, OR TREATMENT. IF YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR HEALTH, YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CONSULT WITH A PHYSICIAN OR OTHER HEALTH-CARE PROFESSIONAL. DO NOT DISREGARD, AVOID OR DELAY OBTAINING MEDICAL OR HEALTH RELATED ADVICE FROM YOUR HEALTH-CARE PROFESSIONAL BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU MAY HAVE READ ON THIS SITE. THE USE OF ANY INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THIS SITE IS SOLELY AT YOUR OWN RISK.