New York City’s Health Department, the good folks who are fearlessly practicing public health policy, are at it again. Last year they warned us about soft drinks. This summer they are back, with a campaign warning parents about the dangers of fruit drinks.
Wait a minute, aren’t fruit drinks supposed to be healthy?
You would think that’s the case, but in fact, fruit drinks can have more sugar than soda pop. A fruit drink is usually made of water, sugar, and flavoring, and only a tiny amount of real fruit juice. Here’s the ingredient list of Minute Maid’s Pink Lemonade, a childhood favorite:
CONTAINS PURE FILTERED WATER, SWEETENERS (HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, SUGAR), LEMON JUICE FROM CONCENTRATE, GRAPE JUICE FROM CONCENTRATE (FOR COLOR), LEMON PULP, NATURAL FLAVORS.
The package boldly claims “100% NATURAL flavors”. What a joke, adding 7 teaspoons of sugar and expecting us to fall for it?
Got it, but I give my child 100% fruit juice. That’s OK, right?
The difference between 100% fruit juices and fruit drinks may not be as big as you think. While 100% fruit juice is made only from fruit, in many cases, the majority of the juice is either from apples or grapes. Eaten fresh, these fruits are great, but when squeezed into juice, their sugar content is highly concentrated and the fiber is lost. Kids (and adults) get accustomed to ingesting a large amount of sugar in seconds. This does not have a good effect on the body, spiking blood sugar levels.
So what should my child be drinking?
You already know the answer. Water. As hard as it sounds, investing the time and effort to get your family back to drinking water is the single most effective step you can take towards your family’s health (and weight loss).
Here’s the NYC ad: