Are Kids Drinking Too Much Juice?

Drinking Too Much Juice

Experts say that kids should only have one serving per day of fruit juice. How much is your child drinking?

There’s a misconception that giving kids a glass of juice from a bottle or can is a healthy thing to do but are kids drinking too much juice these days? The answer is probably yes.

The problem is that the “juice” we’re allowing kids to drink is sometimes only about 10% REAL juice and the rest of the ingredients includes water and tons of sugar and high fructose corn syrup, something I really think we all need to take out of our diets. When it comes kids and juice though, parents sometimes think that it’s better to give them a glass of juice as it’s healthy but that is not always the case.

Sarah Clark from United Press International recently wrote about study which showed that kids are drinking way too much juice, much more than the recommended amounts, and this could be part of the reason we have such a big obesity problem in our country.

U.S. pediatric experts recommend one glass of juice a day for children, even 100 percent fruit juice, but many children drink two glasses, researchers found.

The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health asked parents of young children of all economic levels about their children’s juice consumption.

The study found 35 percent of parents report their children 1-5 years old have two or more cups of juice on a typical day. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended limiting fruit juice in children ages 1-6 to one serving a day.

“It is important to limit juice consumption in young children because there is such a strong link between consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and child health problems like obesity and early tooth decay,” Sarah Clark of the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the University of Michigan and associate director of the National Poll on Children’s Health said in a statement. “For many obese children, sugary beverages make up a large proportion of their daily energy intake.”

Forty-nine percent of parents whose household income was less than $30,000 annually reported their children drink two or more cups of juice per day. However, 23 percent of parents with household incomes of $100,000 or more report that their children drink two or more cups of juice per day, the study said.

“Parents may think juice is an easy way for their child to get a serving of fruit, but it’s often difficult to pick out 100 percent fruit juice amid the sugar-sweetened juice drinks,” Clark said, “But the AAP recommendation is for one serving of juice a day — even 100 percent fruit juice.”

Source

When it comes to choosing the right juice to give to your kids it’s important to remember that not all juices on the market and in the grocery store are good for kids. Being vigilent about checking the ingredients and making sure you choose the healthiest variety is very important as these manufacturers sneak all kinds of ingredients in that are not good for your kids’ health. Here’s a good primer on how to choose the right juice for your kids.

As a parent I understand that sometimes it’s much easier to buy a few bottles of fruit juice at the supermarket for $2.00/bottle when it’s on sale or even buying the 12-packs of Capri-Sun when they’re two for $5.00 but at the same time I understand that just because it’s in the pantry doesn’t mean kids have free reign to take it as they want it. Ask my children, they’ll tell you! 🙂

So here are 4 recommendations to parents (and kids) to help remedy the problem of kids drinking too much juice.

  • Again, make sure you read the labels. Buy only fruit juices that say “100% Juice” on them and don’t make any exceptions even if the sale price on the stuff loaded with high fructose corn syrup (the REALLY bad stuff) is cheaper.
  • Consider buying fresh fruit and juicing it yourself or with the help of your child. Orange juice (for example) is tasty from the carton but it’s ten times better when it’s fresh squeezed. My kids absolutely LOVE fresh squeezed orange juice so I know from experience that kids will enjoy it. But I can tell you that not all oranges you buy in the grocery store are the same or have the same amount of juice in them. I purchased a 5-lb bag of oranges a few weeks ago at our grocery store for $5.99 as it was the cheapest bag they had available. It was also the grocery store’s branded oranges, not the Sunkist brand. I’ll say this – those oranges were horrible. The oranges were not juicy at all (they were mostly peel) and they really didn’t taste good either so it was a bad experience for sure. And all the time we put into juicing them only provided us an 8-10 ounce glass that we all had to share. So, if you plan on juicing oranges make sure you buy fresh Navel or Valencia oranges and ideally a name brand like Sunkist for the the most juice, best taste and best value for your money. For more info on Oranges and which are the best, visit the Sunkist Website.
  • A great option is a juicing machine. We plan to write more about kids and juicing soon but there are a lot of really good centrifugal juicers on the market that are very inexpensive and that will teach your children about juicing fruits and vegetables. Again, look for more info here in the coming weeks and months.
  • Water down the juice. Sometimes the bottled juices are too tart or sweet for kids and they’ll never notice if you do a half juice, half water mixture. This way you are satisfying your child and at the same time feeling better yourself about the calories and sugars they are consuming.

Those are just a few suggestions for parents who think their kids are drinking too much juice and just remember that as parents it’s our job to make sure our kids continue to eat (and drink) healthy so continue to do the right things and your kids will love you for it!

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