Juice Abuse?

Is drinking 100% fruit juice better than drinking soda for kids?

Fruit juice is more nutritious than soda, and rarely consumed in such large portions, but it’s just as high in calories. On the plus side, 100% fruit juice contains natural sugars instead of high fructose corn syrup and it has some vitamins, minerals and desirable phytochemicals and antioxidants.

Because drinking too much juice can cause kids to become overweight, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children between the ages of 1-6 keep juice intake to ½ – ¾ cup of juice a day, max. Youth between 7-18 years olds shouldn’t have more than 1 -1 ½ cups a day. This is a good guideline for adults too.

If you’re interested in weight loss, eating whole fruit is better than drinking juice. It’s high in fiber and volume so gives you a feeling of fullness that stays with you. Or try diluting 100% fruit juice with sparkling or plain water. You may come to prefer this less sweet version of juice.

Many products appear to be 100% juice at first glance but are actually “juice drinks”—a little juice mixed with high fructose corn syrup and water. “Fruit drinks”, “fruit ades” and “fruit punches” are just artificially-colored, high fructose corn syrup drinks mixed with a small amount of juice.   Read labels closely.

Bottom line: Kids between 1-6 years old should drink no more that ½ – ¾ cup of juice a day. Those ages 7- adult should cap juice at 1- 1 ½ cups. The best of all worlds is to drink water and eat whole fruit.