A recent report by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity found that beverage companies aggressively market their products to children, and often try to hide the unhealthy content of their drinks. Here’s a disturbing finding from the study:
“Researchers also found that an 8-ounce serving of a typical fruit drink has 110 calories and 7 teaspoons of sugar–the same amount found in an 8-ounce serving of a full-calorie soda or energy drink. However, nutrition-related claims on fruit drink packages may mislead parents into thinking these beverages are healthier than full-calorie sodas. Overall, sugary drinks are the top source of calories in teens’ diets.”
As troubling as these findings are, they aren’t new. The Los Angeles Times reported back in 2009 that fruit juice contains equal or greater amounts of sugar and calories than soda. Even worse, the use of fructose in fruit drinks rather than pure sugar results in higher amounts of fat produced by the liver – creating a higher risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. In 2011, CBS news did a report on how juice boxes which are marketed towards children contain high levels of sugar.
Even juice not marketed as “snacks” can be problematic, last year several researchers took a very serious look at apple juice for its high levels of sugar and troubling levels of arsenic. As mentioned in this story from the Chicago Tribune, while the exact levels of dangerous arsenic in apple juice is still under study, pediatricians recommend that neither kids nor adults drink juice at all.
Concerned parents should encourage their children to drink filtered water whenever they’re thirsty. Whenever there’s a need to supplement that thirst with healthier alternatives, consider products with lower amounts of calories and high levels of vitamins and nutrients like Max N-Fuze