3 Ways to Ensure Your Child Doesn’t Have a Drinking Problem

We all probably identify fast food, potato chips, and candy as some of the bad boys contributing to the current obesity epidemic.  But would you believe juice?  Really?

A genuine wolf in sheep’s clothing, juice has a lot in common with another oft consumed beverage, the much maligned soda.  Juice and soda.  Soda and juice.  What could they possibly have in common?

Sugar, that’s what…

Pediatric obesity specialist, Robert Lustig, said in the HBO documentary Weight of the Nation, “There is no difference. When you take fruit and squeeze it, you throw the fiber in the garbage. That was the good part of the fruit. The juice is nature’s way of getting you to eat your fiber.”

Right about now you’re probably shaking your head in disbelief.  We were raised on the stuff.   We believed it to be a nutritious alternative to sugar-sweetened drinks–health in a glass.  Full of vitamins and minerals…  Well, some anyway. Still skeptical?

An 8 ounce glass of either this root beer or this apple juice contains nearly the same amount of sugar–the juice edging the soda by a gram.  That’s almost 8 teaspoons of sugar.  Yikes!

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following:

  • 0-6 months: no juice
  • 6 months-1 year: 1-3 oz
  • 1-6 years: 4-6 oz
  • 6-18 years: 8-12 oz

It’s really easy to drink way more sugar than you think so pay attention to amount.  Calories add up quickly.  Choose 100% fruit juice and beware of “cocktails”, “punches”, and “drinks”. This is a good indicator that sugar has been added to the mix. In other words, read the label!

And 100% or not, try diluting your juice with some plain or carbonated water to make a real thirst quenching drink with less sugar.  Have you heard of the Sodastream?  It makes sparkling/seltzer water in seconds.  It’s going on my Christmas wish list this year.

Answer the following questions to find out if your child has a drinking problem.

Does your child eat a well-balanced diet including fresh fruits and vegetables?

Is your child’s mouth generally free of cavities?

Is your child at a healthy weight?

Hopefully, you answered yes to each question. If so, then just follow the juice guideline recommendations.  If the answers were no, then it might be time to go on the wagon.  Cutting way back or even eliminating juice would be a good idea.

Bottom line. Should you eat an orange or drink it? Given a choice opt for the real deal. A piece of fruit will give you more nutrition and fewer calories. Treat juice as a treat and not as a liquid replacement for water.

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