Some say fruit is “nature’s candy.” It’s sweet but actually carries with it a nutritional value, unlike candy.
When you take that fruit and turn it into a beverage, do you still have a nutritional option? The consumption of fruit juice has declined over the years as awareness spread regarding juice appearing closer to a soda than many initially perceived.
100% fruit juice has been perceived as a remaining option for a tasty alternative for kids, but the reality could be much different.
The Sugar Problem
Just like regular fruit juice, 100% juice is no different – it’s loaded with sugar. It may be natural sugar found in the fruit, but it’s still a hefty amount of sugar.
Take for instance a 4oz juice box, this can realistically contain 14 grams of sugar. Though a can of soda is often 12oz, the amount of sugar found in a juice box is quite similar to what you would find in 4oz of soda.
What about the Vitamins?
Considering the health benefits that whole fruits have, such as vitamins and other nutrients, it’s fair to assume you would find these things in 100% fruit juice as well. If you read the nutrition facts for a given fruit juice you will see that they do have vitamins, often vitamin C in particular.
However, fruit juice loses a key component of whole fruit – the skin and pulp. With these components removed from fruit juice, you are missing out on the fiber that would traditionally receive from the skin and pulp.
What’s a Better Option?
If you’re going to rarely offer your kids fruit juice, there are alternatives to try. Water and select kinds of milk can be great options.
Avoid having your kids drink these things before bed as this can become a dental hygiene issue. Additionally, if your kids do drink juice, refrain from doing so with a sippy cup. UC Davis health warns this can make it easier for children to drink juice throughout the day – leading to increased consumption.