Is Giving Fruit Juice to Your Child as Unhealthy as Soda?

boy drinking juice

Most of us know about the health dangers associated with consuming soda. From empty calories to actually compromising the body’s ability to stay healthy and fight off disease, soda is a well known health culprit. But there’s another drink on the market that many of us unknowingly not only consume, but give to our children daily…

So what is this dangerous drink that the average American child consumes more than forty liters of annually? Fruit juice. Yes, the fruit juice you’re giving your child may be doing more harm to their developing bodies than good…really.

Are You Fueling A Fructose Addiction in Your Child or Self?

We hear about high fructose corn syrup and how it’s an unhealthy (and unnecessary) food ingredient in many of our processed and refined foods. So what’s the big deal with not just high fructose corn syrup but fructose in general in the foods we consume on a daily basis?

Fructose is a naturally occurring, simple sugar found in certain ripe fruits, a few root vegetables and honey. So if it’s all natural, then what’s the problem?

When fructose is found naturally in whole foods such as fruits and root vegetables it comes with fibers, enzymes, antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and other important nutrients that help the body to properly assimilate the fructose. However, even too much of these whole food sources of fructose can present a problem.

Today’s typical Western diet involves an extremely high consumption of sugar, particularly fructose, mostly from highly processed food sources, not whole food sources.

 
Diets High in Sugar can Lead to:

  • Obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Certain chronic diseases
  • Kidney problems
  • Weakened immune system
  • Hyperactivity (particularly in children)
  • Certain mineral deficiencies
  • Chronic inflammatory conditions
  • Obesity, hypertension, diabetes, mineral deficiencies, and a weakened immune system open the door to a host of chronic diseases and health issues

It is vital that you take a serious look at your own sugar consumption and that of your family. Remember in the beginning of this article when I mentioned fruit juice being as harmful as soda? It really is and if you’re drinking it and giving it to your family on a regular basis you should re-evaluate this product as a healthy drink choice as it simply is not.

Too much sugar from any source, whole foods or processed foods, is simply a bad idea. We must learn to live and eat with balance. Of course eating a whole food, such as an apple, is far superior to consuming apple juice.

Think about it – eating an apple (or an orange, or peach) is natural. Drinking the juice is the equivalent of crushing 8 apples or oranges and think of how much extra sugar that is? Would anyone sit down to take a snack break and eat 8 apples or oranges? Absolutely not. But that is what we are doing when we have fruit juice. The amount of sugar going into our body is staggering.

Fruit Juice, Fructose and Children

Many parents with only the best intentions have been lured in by clever marketing to think that fruit juice is a healthy, smart and nutritious drink choice for their child.

However, when you give your child a juice box or glass of juice, it is highly processed, refined and devoid of the nutrients that the original, ‘real food’ fruit contained that enables the body to properly use it. It’s like dumping heaps of teaspoons of sugar into a glass of water, adding a few food colorings and serving it to your child. Even if it is 100% juice, it is containing far more fructose in a single serving than nature intended us to consume at once.

I urge you to eliminate fruit juices, truly a fake food, from your life and your child’s. Take a look at labels and start noticing fructose on them. Think about the fruits you eat on a daily basis and see just how many grams of fructose your family is consuming everyday.

Make the change now. Do it for your child’s health today and down the road. Encourage consumption of whole foods such as fruits that are balanced with other whole foods low in fructose.

Remember the rule: Juice Vegetables, Eat Fruits (in moderation).