Fruit Juices, Sugar and Calories
~ May 2013 No.249 ~
Fruits and vegetables are the foundations of a nutritious meal and a healthy diet. Fruits provide vitamins and fibre that are often in short supply when you eat highly processed foods. The vitamins found in high quantities in fruits such as vitamin C and vitamin A are essential nutrients necessary for good metabolism and health. Your body can't produce these vitamins; you need to get them from the food you eat. The health benefits of dietary fibre found in foods such as fruits range from maintenance of normal bowel function, to effects on appetite, and cholesterol regulation.
If fruits are so good, then fruit drinks should also be part of a healthy diet. Well, maybe yes, and maybe no.
For starters, fruit juice contains the same nutrients that are found in whole fruit, but juice doesn't have the fibre found in whole fruit. Depending on the quality of the juice, some of the vitamins may have been lost due to processing. But fruits also contain sugar, and it is the sugar that has many people pointing out the dangers of drinking too much fruit juice. The warnings are particularly forceful for anyone trying to cut down on Calories and for conscientious parents who are trying to provide their children with a healthy alternative to carbonated drinks. Introducing sweet drinks into a child's diet too early may create a craving that could lead to the consumption of too many Calories and a related obesity problem. In addition, tooth decay may also become a problem if a child is drinking too many sweet drinks, natural or otherwise.
In 2001, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidelines saying fruit juice should not be given to children younger than 6 months and that there is no nutritional reason to give it to them before their first birthday. After that age, juice is optional, although this group favors whole produce and urges parents to limit juice to 4 to 6 ounces a day for children up to 6 years old, and to no more than 8 to 12 ounces for older children.
It appears it is prudent to be cautious about introducing fruit juice into a child's diet too early. Stick to ripe, raw fruits to give your child the vitamins and fibre she needs. Even though it is made from natural ingredients, fruit juice may not be as healthy a choice as you think.
|Orange juice raw:||45 Cal/100g|
|Canned apple juice:||46 Cal/100g|
|Peach canned nectar:||54 Cal/100g|
|Carbonated cola:||42 Cal/100g|
|Source: National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference|