I remember my mom mixing up Kool-Aid when I was a kid. She’d pour that packet of colored powder into a pitcher of water with a cup of sugar…and my brother and I would drink that down like it was no one’s business! At the time I didn’t think about the ingredients they used or what all that sugar does to the body, and I wish I knew then what I know now.
Sadly, Kool-Aid isn’t a thing of the past. Children everywhere are drinking Kool-Aid Jammers and I can see why parents buy them for their kids. They are inexpensive and sold in boxes of 10 pouches that are easy to pack in your kids lunch box. Plus, they say on the front of the box that they’re an “Excellent Source of Vitamin C” with “75% Less Sugar Than Soda”.
So Kool-Aid Jammers have got to be healthier for your kids than soda, right? Let’s see.
When you look at the ingredients in Kool-Aid Jammers, they are the same as soda. What a scam!
Just like soda, Kool-Aid Jammers are mostly water mixed with High Fructose Corn Syrup, along with Artificial Flavors, Artificial Colors and preservatives.
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a heavily processed sweetener made from Roundup-Ready GMO cornstarch that contains more fructose than regular corn syrup. Studies have shown it increases appetite and the risk of weight gain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and dementia. HFCS especially contributes to type 2 diabetes in children! (1)
Kool-Aid Jammers may have less sugar in that little pouch than a can of soda, but sugar isn’t the only ingredient to avoid when shopping for drinks for your kids.
Look at the other controversial ingredients in Kool-Aid Jammers and what they do to your body:
ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS: Chemical mixtures synthesized in laboratories, derived from petroleum and other inedible substances. Cheaper than using real food. Makes processed food taste irresistible. (1)
NATURAL FLAVORS: Essentially the same as artificial flavors, but are derived from natural substances. This is a proprietary ingredient that has a top secret ingredient list. These flavors contain preservatives, emulsifiers, solvents and other additives that can make up 80% of the formulation (such as: sodium benzoate, glycerin, potassium sorbate, and propylene glycol) – none of which are labeled). (1)
SUCRALOSE: Kool-Aid uses this artificial sweetener to reduce the sugar content, but it’s just as bad, if not worse. Sucralose is made in a laboratory by reacting sugar with Chlorine. Has been linked to leukemia and related blood cancers in animal studies. Although artificial sweeteners have no calories, they have been shown to contribute to weight gain by encouraging sugar cravings. Research finds they stimulate your appetite, increase sugar cravings, and promote fat storage and weight gain. (1)
ARTIFICIAL COLORS: Dyes derived from petroleum, linked to several health issues, including allergies and hyperactivity in children, which require a warning label in Europe. May also be contaminated with carcinogens, such as benzidine. (1)
CITRIC ACID: Heavily processed preservative and flavoring made from sugar fed to fungus (a GMO black mold, not fruit). It can contribute to leaky gut, or make it hard to heal from leaky gut. (1)
SYNTHETIC VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID): They add synthetic vitamin C to Kool-Aid Jammers so they can add the health claim on the box that they’re an “Excellent Source of Vitamin C”. Besides the fact that this is one really unhealthy way to get vitamin C into your child, synthetic vitamins are made in a lab from a variety of questionable sources like coal tar, petroleum and GMOs. Lab-created vitamins differ from natural vitamins found in whole food, and aren’t often believed to be absorbed by your body as well. (1)
What’s a healthier alternative to Kool-Aid Jammers?
I offer my children just a few drink options. We serve filtered water with everything and this is what I pack in lunch boxes. This is the main thing that we drink as a family. Occasionally, we’ll enjoy organic coconut or almond milk, mint tea, kombucha, or raw coconut water. My husband likes to drink cold-pressed orange juice, so sometimes if my daughter sees him drinking it, she’ll want some. I’ll pour her a little OJ in a glass mixed with filtered water. She doesn’t know the difference!
Want more options? To help you sort out the best drinks for your children, I developed a beverage ranking chart for my new book, Food Babe Family.
You’ll find drinks listed in four categories: (1) Worst Drinks for Kids, (2) Not-Much-Better Drinks for Kids, (3) Still-Not-the-Best Drinks for Kids, and (4) Best Drinks for Kids. It makes it so easy for you!
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If you are buying Kool-Aid Jammers for your kids, I don’t want you to feel bad. Remember, the Big Food industry spends millions of dollars on advertising to sell these drinks to you and your children. They know how to push your buttons. Take this as empowering advice. Now that you know better, you can choose better!
Know anyone who needs to know the truth about Kool-Aid Jammers? Please share this with them!