Tue, Aug 07, 2007 - Page 4 News List

`Healthy' drinks not necessarily healthy, group says

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

Excessive intake of "healthy" beverages, such as sports drinks, high fiber drinks or drinks that claim to combat oily food, might backfire and undermine drinkers' health, the John Tung Foundation claimed yesterday.

At a news conference to announce the findings of a recent survey conducted by the foundation on the relationship between bottled beverages and health, Hsu Hui-yu (許惠玉), a foundation official in charge of nutrition, said that swallowing a 350cc bottle of sports drink is equal to eating 5.4 sugar cubes.

Hsu quoted the results of the survey conducted between February and March this year among some 1,000 elementary schoolchildren nationwide as showing that 67 percent of children and 65 percent of their parents thought that sports drinks were healthy beverages and believed that the more the children drink, the healthier they will become.

Hsu said that a 350cc bottle of sports drink contains 110 calories, as well as electrolytes that can increase the burden on the heart, blood vessels and kidneys.

The current fad for beverages containing "high fiber" or "algae" -- claimed by the manufacturers as being able to cut weight -- will not help lose weight, but rather might cause nutritional imbalances, said Chiang Chun-ping (江椿彬), a pediatrician at Mackay Memorial Hospital in Taipei.

Chiang said the best drink for people, particularly elementary schoolchildren, is boiled water and that "fiber drinks" can never replace vegetables when it comes to taking natural fiber to help with digestion and seeking balanced nutrition.

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