We all heard it as a kid: Drink your juice! Apple, orange, grape, or some form of a fruit cocktail, children flock to juice beverages. It is a billion dollar industry, and they advertise to parents that their products are better than soda. However, are they really?
Well, not really. In a recent study published in the “Nutrition” journal, the sugars in fruit juices are only slightly behind the sugars in sodas. For instance, Dr. Pepper has 61.4 grams per liter of sugary fructose, versus 55.1 grams per liter for Ocean Spray 100% Cranberry Juice. The fructose (or simply, sugar) level is lower in the majority of juices tested, however one ranks third in overall fructose, and that is Minute Maid 100% Apple Juice. Yes, apple juice. Apple juice does not seem very sweet, yet when you combine the fruit’s natural sugars with the processed sugars the manufacturer adds, it adds up to a whopping 65.8 grams per liter. The only two products in the test that were higher were Mug Root Beer with 66.9 and Mountain Dew with 72.3.
Not all sugars are alike. There was much controversy last year over “high fructose corn syrup” and the damage it does. A responding commercial simply stated, “Sugar is sugar”. It is not true. Fructose, regardless of the form, does not act like the sugar that we humans need to function. It is not the same sugars that help regulate our glucose levels. Instead, fructose is processed through the liver, which in return stores it as fat. This is the problem with the added fructose in fruit juices. The fructose from the fruit itself is not bad, and it comes with fiber, which slows down and reduces the absorption of the sugar in the body.
These numbers are shocking, but what is even more shocking is that fruit juices are offered in public schools as a choice versus milk. A choice is good, especially since many are lactose-intolerant and are not always able to bring a beverage from home. However, the high sugar content cannot be helpful through the remaining school day. While the government is focused on school lunch food, they seem to have neglected the drink options children rely on, as well. A salad is nice and healthy, but how much damage are you really doing when your beverage of choice has more sugar than most sodas?
Sadly, fruit juices are not much better than soda. With added sugars, many are just as ad for you, if not worse, than soda. The added fructose can also be detrimental to your health, as well, due to the way the body processes it and turns it to fat. Hopefully with this study, parents and school staff can help make wiser choices for children when it comes to their beverage choices.
About the Author:
I’m a professional payment processor who co-founded eMerchantBroker.com specializing in high risk merchant accounts. We’re also proud members of the Smoke Free Alternative Trade Association who provide facts to consumers regarding the E-Cig Merchant Account Industry.