University of Sydney researchers cite daily consumption of fruit juice and soft drinks among obese-prone two-to-six year olds places them at risk of becoming overweight.

The 18 month long study just published in The British Journal of Nutrition confirms children predisposed to weight gain should avoid sugar-laden drinks, and substitute milk for water in order to curtail future weight gain.

The researchers claim the additional energy intake and significant portion of glucose in these drinks exacerbates the high dietary glycaemic load, “which have been associated with increased appetite, food intake and body weight gain.”

Yet, surprisingly, milk (ideally plain, low-fat) rather than water, is the ideal substitute for sugary drinks for regulating body weight, given its satiety effect on weight gain.

“We should be trying to get children to drink more milk and this can be applied to all children, not just those with a predisposition for weight gain,” explained lead study author, Dr Miabing Zheng, University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre.

However, Dr Zheng warned parents against replacing sugar-laden drinks with diet drinks due to the artificial sweeteners, caffeine and high acidity levels they contain and their largely unknown health implications.