Are Fruit Drinks Healthy? Parents Find Labels Confusing

by | Apr 27, 2021 | Nutrition

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More than half of the parents in a study said they looked for “reduced sugar” products, but most didn’t realize that the natural sugar had been replaced by artificial sweeteners (also called “non-nutritive”).

In response to public health advice to reduce their children’s sugar consumption, parents often turn to fruit juice as an alternative to sodas. But a recent study of 1,600 parents revealed that most could not identify key ingredients of eight popular fruit drinks or determine the presence of no- or low-calorie sweeteners, or even the percentage of juice contained in the drink, when shown the labels.

More than half of the parents in another study said they looked for “reduced sugar” products, but most didn’t realize that the natural sugar had been replaced by artificial sweeteners (also called “non-nutritive”). As it turned out, only 16 percent thought that the most popular of such sweeteners were safe for their children.

Their concerns are not unfounded. As noted in the journal Pediatrics, not only is it not clear that non-nutritive sweeteners lead to weight loss in children, but their potential health impacts on the young have not been well studied.

If these substitutes are not good, is 100 percent juice better? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that pediatricians “advocate for a reduction in fruit juice in the diets of young children” and remove them from the diets of children with weight problems.

Their guidelines for acceptable intake of this “natural” food are surprisingly low.

How could a 100 percent juice, “no sugar added” product be a questionable purchase? AAP also reports that research has shown that almost half of the fruit intake of children aged 2-18 is from juice, from which fruit fiber has been removed.

And why would the absence of fiber make a difference?  The eSavvyHealth course The Carbohydrate Wars can help you answer such questions, and give you confidence in your choices. Find out more here.

Fundamentals of Health Alliance

Fundamentals of Health Alliance

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The Fundamentals of Health Alliance works to publish useful and reliable information about nutrition and health. Their mission is to empower readers to be informed with honest, non-biased information about food, nutrition and the vital components of health.

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