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    Kids' Fruit Drinks, Juices Contain Day's Worth of Sugar

    Study was conducted in Britain, but experts say similar results would be found in U.S.

    WebMD News from HealthDay

    By Robert Preidt

    HealthDay Reporter

    THURSDAY, March 24, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Many commercially sold fruit drinks and juices give kids a full day's worth of sugar in a single serving, a new British study shows.

    One U.S. expert said she wasn't surprised by the finding.

    "I believe the results would be very similar if this study was conducted with fruit drink products available in the United States," said Pamela Koch, executive director of the nutrition program at Teachers College, Columbia University, in New York City.

    "Many fruit drinks are excessively high in added sugars, as this study found. Yet, these are often marketed as healthful products, confusing parents and children," she said.

    The British study was led by Simon Capewell, a professor at the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society at the University of Liverpool. His team calculated levels of "free" sugars in 200-milliliter sizes (nearly 7 ounces) of 203 fruit drinks, 100 percent natural juices and smoothies marketed specifically to children.

    Free sugars include those added to products -- such as glucose, fructose, sucrose and table sugar -- as well as naturally occurring sugars in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates. Naturally occurring sugars in whole fruits and vegetables are not free sugars.

    Nearly half of the children's products in the study had at least a child's entire daily recommended maximum sugar intake of 19 grams (five teaspoons) of sugar, the researchers report.

    In a university news release, Capewell said that as parents learn more about the high sugar content of sodas and other sweetened drinks, many "opt for seemingly healthier fruit juice and smoothie alternatives."

    "Unfortunately, our research shows that these parents have been misled," he said. "The sugar content of the fruit drinks, including natural fruit juices and smoothies tested, is unacceptably high. And smoothies are among the worst offenders."

    The solution? When possible, parents should give children fresh fruit instead of fruit juice, Capewell said. When giving children fruit juice, choose unsweetened juice, dilute juice with water, only serve it during meals, and limit the amount to 150 ml (about 5 ounces) a day, the researchers recommended.

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