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Juice isn't healthy. It's never been healthy.

January 10, 2021

It’s no secret that kids (and many adults) love fruit juice, and juice shops. If you are like me, then you, orange, apple, grape, cranberry, pineapple and probably some others. And because it says it's 100% juice, it's a given that it's healthy. But is it really?

We often like the taste of fruit juice because it’s a sweet drink and we're told it's healthy. But in order to get sweet, then it must have sugar. And your body can have the same hormonal spike with any sugar, even if it’s natural sugar.

Think about about it this way – your body uses a banana the same as a chocolate bar. Same response. And even though it's fruit sugar, too much sugar of any kind isn’t healthy.

 

In addition, many fruit juices often have added flavors, food coloring (which I detest) or other additives.

Not to mention many juices are manufactured and processed in a way that strips all the vitamins and nutrients from the fruit.

Recently, consumer reports looked at 24 national and private label brands and tested 45 juices of different flavors. Many of them had elevated levels of lead, according to the report. These metals can lead to neurodevelopmental problems in children.

Well, it's still much better than giving my kids soda/pop?

Unfortunately it’s really not, say the experts. “It’s essentially still just sugar water—sometimes with vitamins in it,” says Rachel Freeman, a registered dietitian who works in pediatrics in a private practice in Burlington, Ont., and at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton. She tells parents that giving kids juice is almost the same as giving them pop in terms of the sugar content and cavity-causing effects.

If you compare sugar content of juice to a can of soda, in terms of volume, it’s about the same – and thats with fruit juices that have no added sugar.

Whole fruit vs juice, is there a big difference?

Absolutely! Whole fruits provide fiber by way of the skin and pulp. If eat a fresh orange, you're getting fiber and a source of vitamins. When you drink a 10 oz glass of orange juice, it's the equivalent of eating the sugar of 10 oranges but without the nutrients and fiber and nothing to protect your body from dangerous sugar spikes. The fiber in fruit helps your body avoid sugar spikes (sugar spikes have been shown to be harmful over time) and the fiber may act as a protector.

Eating whole fruit also takes longer to eat, which may slow down digestion, causing a slower calorie intake, which can decrease the risk of obesity. Drinking fruit juice slams your system with concentrated sugar and calories as compared to whole fruit.

What other negative impacts can fruit juice have?

Drinking fruit juice can replace consuming other beneficial liquids, like breast milk for babies or water for the rest of us.

The more concentrated sugar and calories in fruit juice can lead to obesity and inappropriate weight gain. Excessive weight gain is associated with high blood pressure, hypertension, stroke, diabetes and other negative health issues later in life.

My child loves fruit juice, is there a recommended amount?

In the US, the new recommendations are that toddlers ages one to three have no more than four ounces (or half a cup) a day, and kids ages four to six have no more than six ounces (or ¾ cup max) a day. Older kids can have up to one cup. 

Some super advice for parents from the pediatricians and dieticians:

  • Don’t put your child to bed with juice or milk. It leaves teeth covered with sugar and can feed the bacteria that causes cavities and tooth decay and cavities.
  • Avoid giving your children fruit juice in sippy cups. Sippy cups make it easier to drink juice throughout the day, leading kids to decrease healthier food intake.
  • Negative impacts of fruit juice will have negative impacts on obese children. Ultimately, children should avoid drinking any sugary drinks, including sports drinks and other sweet drinks. Just by cutting out those liquids, you will likely see dramatic effects on a child’s weight.
  • For years, dietitians have been telling parents that juice isn’t good for kids, and now the formal guidelines are beginning to catch up. Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) announced it’s changing its guidelines on juice, recommending that no child under one year old drink juice at all. The message is clear: Juice is not healthy. 

Hope this helps and we definitely want to say that if you give your kids juice, then you are still a good parent :-) My kids still drink juice and eat candy as I did, just not every day and in reasonable quantities. We can't do everything right all the time, but we can always try to do better.

 

Clark from Anti-Aging Pillowcase


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