A HEADTEACHER has backed calls for children to be given healthier drinks.

It comes after a national expert made headlines saying water should replace sugary drinks on meal tables.

Professor Tom Sanders, from King's College London, called for sugary drinks to be taken out of children's diets.

Speaking to journalists at a briefing about the health effects of sugar, he said: "Kids should be getting their fluid from drinking water.

"We need to reintroduce the habit of people putting a jug of water on the table and drinking water with their food."

Headteacher Paul Trickett at Rhyddings High School in Oswaldtwistle said they had already banned energy drinks and flavoured water or squash.

He said they were very concerned about the use of the sweetener Aspartame in these drinks.

He said: “We banned energy drinks, because to growing children the contents are absolutely poisonous to their development. We have also written to parents to ask them to check labels for use of the sweetener Aspartame as that also has a very negative effect on behaviour.

“Current research shows us that the negative effects of ‘energy drinks’, due primarily to the high concentration of caffeine and other stimulants, are many and varied.

“Drinks sweetened with Aspartame contain a chemical, Phenylalanine, which is a Neurotoxin which plays a huge part in creating behavioural changes in students. It is banned in some parts of the world.

“We are not as strict on the use of natural sugars, but certainly we have been advising parents to focus more on water and drinks like milk.”

Prof Sander’s calls for more water was backed by fellow nutritionist Professor Susan Jebb, from Oxford University, who said: "I'd prefer to get sugar out of drinks altogether; a shift to low or no calorie drinks, and preferably water."

New menu standards which will apply in schools from September also place emphasis on making water the drink of choice.

The new menus also limit fruit juice portions to quarter pints or 150ml and another restriction is on the amount of added sugars or honey in other drinks.