May 23, 2024

A new study has discovered that having fizzy drinks such as cola before the age of two can cause weight gain in your twenties, while kids who drink fruit juice tend to have healthier diets in the future. 

The Swansea University research followed 14,000 British children from birth to adulthood and is believed to be the longest of its kind ever reported.

The results, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that children who drank fizzy drinks or sugar-sweetened fruit cordials before the age of two gained more weight when they were 24 years old.


A new study found that children who drank fruit juice instead of soda at an early age tended to have healthier diets later in life.
A new study found that children who drank fruit juice instead of soda at an early age tended to have healthier diets later in life. Shutterstock

At three years old, toddlers who drank cola were seen to consume more calories, fat, protein, and sugar but less fiber while those given pure apple juice consumed less fat and sugar but higher amounts of fiber.

A link was also found between childhood drinks and different food choices, with kids who had pure apple juice eating more fish, fruit, green vegetables, and salad — compared with cola kids who ate more burgers, sausages, pizza, french fries, meat, chocolate, and sweets.

Lead researcher Professor David Benton said: “The early diet establishes a food pattern that influences, throughout life, whether weight increases. 

“The important challenge is to ensure that a child develops a good dietary habit: one that offers less fat and sugar, although pure fruit juice, one of your five a day, adds vitamin C, potassium, folate, and plant polyphenols.”

Additionally, the team discovered a link between sugar-sweetened drinks and social deprivation, with children from richer backgrounds more likely to have access to pure fruit juice.

The researchers hope that their findings will encourage parents to pay more attention to their children’s diet in the first years of life. 

Dr. Hayley Young added: “Obesity is a serious health concern, one that increases the risk of many other conditions. 

“Our study shows that the dietary causes of adult obesity begin in early childhood and that if we are to control it, more attention needs to be given to our diet in the first years of life.”

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