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Sweet Drinks: What’s Best for Kids?

One Study Looks at Consumption Trends; Another Study Touts Benefits of 100% Fruit Juice

Juice Not Linked to Extra Weight continued...

Here's what they found:

  • 100% fruit juice drinkers who drank more than 6 ounces had higher levels of carbohydrates, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, potassium, magnesium, and iron than those who did not drink 100% fruit juice.
  • Those who drank more than 6 ounces of 100% fruit juice also ate more whole fruit and less fat and added sugar than those who didn't drink 100% juice. There was no reduction of dairy, vegetables, meat, and whole grain intake in children who drank 100% fruit juice compared with those who didn't.
  • Those who didn't drink 100% fruit juice drank more sodas and sugar-added fruit drinks.
  • Drinking 100% fruit juice was not linked to being overweight or obese in children aged 2 to 11.

Sue Taylor is a registered dietitian with the Juice Products Association. That group provided a grant to Baylor College of Medicine, in part funding the study.

Taylor says fruit juice has gotten a "bad rep."

"Obesity is such a complex issue that it's not accurate to single out one food as a problem," she says.

Taylor notes that "even though children consumed a few more calories than those who didn't drink juice, they (the juice drinkers) had a healthier overall diet."

 

Tips for Keeping in Balance

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that children and adolescents limit 100% fruit juice to 4 to 6 ounces of fruit juice a day for children aged 1 to 6 and 8 to 12 ounces of fruit juice a day for children aged 7 to 18.
  • Emphasize whole fruits instead. You get the juice plus the nutrients in the flesh of the fruit.
  • Don't encourage young children to drink a big glass of juice at the front end of the meal. That can cause them to fill up and not have room for a nutritionally balanced meal.
  • Check the label. If it's 100% fruit juice, the federal government requires it say so on the label.

 

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