A California Assembly member has introduced a bill that would ban the sale of sports drinks such as Gatorade in schools.
Assembly Member Das Williams (D – Santa Barbara) said in a statement that AB 1746 would help fight childhood obesity, as the drinks often contain sugar.
“Teachers have to do a tough enough job as it and I believe this will give a little help,” Williams said in a statement. “A 32 ounce sports drink has 14 teaspoons of sugar, kids jacked up on that much sugar have a harder time learning.”
Currently, elementary schools are not allowed to sell sports drinks during school hours, and all public schools K-12 do not allow soda to be sold on campuses.
Children and teenagers sitting in classrooms and working out in physical education classes does not necessarily warrant the need for performance enhancing drinks, said UC San Diego professor of pediatrics Howard Taras.
“Drinking electrolytes it only necessary for marathon runners,” he said. “It’s not necessary for kids playing outside.”
Taras also said the effect of sports drinks potentially loaded with sugar and caffeine could increase the likelihood of poor health practices.
“If they’re having it in addition to a normal diet, kids are more likely to become obese,” he said.
A standard bottle of Gatorade contains 200 calories, 56 grams of sugar and 440 milligrams of sodium.
“Knowing what’s inside is important,” Taras said. “I’d prefer they drink water…. it’s the best thing, it’s the safest thing.”