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Study: Sugary Drinks, Greatest Source Of Added Sugars

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Kids love sugary drinks, but an eye-opening new report, just released Monday morning, has some disturbing findings.

The study looked at more than 600 drinks and the way they're marketed to kids and teenagers.

You may think it's a better alternative than soda, but fruit drinks are loaded with sugar and often have the same amount of sugar as a soda.

The new study, which was done by researchers at Yale, shows a couple of things including how much young people are exposed to advertising for sugary drinks and how they impact the health of kids and teenagers.

According to Yale researchers, sugary drinks are the greatest source of added sugars in the American diet, and the No. 1 source of calories in teen diets.

Companies spent more money to market these types of drinks to children and teens than any other food category, including fruit, soda, sports drinks, Vitamin water and energy drinks.

There's a lot of marketing happening online, too.

Twenty-one sugary drink brands had YouTube channels in 2010, with more than 229 million views. Coca-Cola led the way on Facebook, with more than 30 million fans.

The study shows Capri Sun and Kool-Aid are the drinks most frequently marketed to kids and teens. Those are both made by Kraft.

Coca-Cola was No. 2 on the list, followed by Pepsi-Co.

Researchers say drinking just one 8-oz. sugary drink a day increases a child's odds of obesity by 60 percent.

The study also showed just how popular energy drinks have become, and how they are increasingly marketed to teenagers.

Researchers say beverage companies need to make drinks with less sugar and ditch artificial sweeteners.

Their advice to parents is to read labels and when it comes to juice, give them small portions.

And they're urging parents to contact these companies and tell them to change their marketing practices.

To read the full study, click here.

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