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June 24, 2013 · 5:47 pm

Is juice really that good for you?

You might want to think again next time you offer juice to your child to go with dinner. Juice has always been thought  to be a healthy option and good for you. But is juice really that good for you? In today’s market, it can be confusing when deciding what kind of juice to buy; cocktail, concentrate, 100 percent. What are the differences?

Juice and Adults

Say you’re trying to lose weight fast. An all liquid diet of vegetable juice and fruit juice sounds like a tempting choice. It seems filling and you think you’re getting the same health benefits as you would be from whole veggies and fruits. But are you really?

The problem with juice is that is exits our stomachs quicker than solid fruits and veggies, according to self.com’s  dietician, Willow Jarosh. This means that you won’t feel as full for as long.

“Not only do whole fruits and veggies keep you fuller…they do it on fewer calories. For instance you could eat 1 cup of cubed papaya for 55 calories, but 1 cup of most fruit juices contains twice the calories (110),” Jarosh said.

You do still get the nutrients and minerals in juice as you get from the solid food, however, you don’t get any fiber.

Types of Juices

There are so many different types of juices to choose from at the store from flavors to labels that aren’t so clear such as pasteurized, from concentrate, 100 percent and cocktail. So what do all these cryptic messages mean?

100 percent

Juice labeled 100 percent juice is juice that is only obtained from the liquids of the fruit or veggie. Fruit or vegetable juice can only count toward your daily intake if it is 100 percent juice. There are no added sugars in 100 percent juice. But there are still natural sugars found from the whole fruit, which can be a lot. In fact, “fruit juice contains about the same amount of sugar as the same amount of soft drink,” according to Dave Hall, who runs hookedonjuice.com.

Many juice brands who claim to be 100 percent juice have a little secret. It’s called a flavor pack. Huffington Post reported on these flavor packs using Gizmodo’s explanation of the process of making juice:

Once the juice is squeezed and stored in gigantic vats, they start removing oxygen. Why? Because removing oxygen from the juice allows the liquid to keep for up to a year without spoiling. But! Removing that oxygen also removes the natural flavors of oranges. Yeah, it’s all backwards. So in order to have OJ actually taste like oranges, drink companies hire flavor and fragrance companies, the same ones that make perfumes for Dior, to create these “flavor packs” to make juice taste like, well, juice again.

“The food industry follows its own logic because of the economies of scale. What works for you in your kitchen when making a glass or two of juice simply won’t work when trying to process thousands upon thousands of gallons of the stuff,” according to Food Renegade.

These flavor packs are made from orange by-product, but the catch is that they take certain chemicals from, say the orange peel, such as ethyl butyrate and overuse it, therefore, chemically altering the natural combination of chemicals found in oranges.


Juice from concentrate contains less water than 100 percent juice. This is because it receives a heat treatment that evaporates nearly all of the water from the naturally squeezed mixture. Once the water gets depleted from the liquid, only the flavorful contents remain behind. Companies do this to extend the life of juice which saves money. Juice concentrates can contain additives that work to maintain color, flavor and nutritional content within the juice. Consumer Reports experts say no notable nutritional differences exist between original and concentrate. Either of these two may be a blend of juices not apparent unless you read the label.

Drinks, cocktails

Juices with labels such as “fruit drink,” “cocktail” or “juice drink” may only contain 5 to 10 percent juice. They are also filled with water, sugar and artificial colors and flavorings, according to the WIC Nutrition Program. Basically, not really juice.


According to the Center for Disease Control:

“pasteurized juice is heated to a high temperature for a short time before it is sold. By pasteurizing juice, pathogens (germs) which may be present in the liquid are killed. Most juice concentrate sold in grocery stores has been heat treated as part of the concentration process and this is equivalent to pasteurization. About 98% of all juices sold in the United States are pasteurized (1) . Pasteurized juice can be found as frozen concentrate, displayed at room temperature or in the refrigerated section of your supermarket. Pasteurized juice products may say “Pasteurized” on their labels. Besides pasteurization, some juices are treated with other processes.”

Juice and kids

Because juice, even if it is 100 percent natural, is high in sugar, it must be carefully rationed when given to children. Juice can cause an array of dental problems, especially if drank out of a sippy cup or bottle. Juice consumption can also be associated with diarrhea, flatulence, abdominal distention. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers some helpful guidelines for parents in its report, The Use and Misuse of Juice in Pediatrics.

  • Juice should not be introduced into the diet of infants before 6 months of age.

  • Infants should not be given juice from bottles or easily transportable covered cups that allow them to consume juice easily throughout the day. Infants should not be given juice at bedtime.

  • Intake of fruit juice should be limited to 4 to 6 oz/d for children 1 to 6 years old. For children 7 to 18 years old, juice intake should be limited to 8 to 12 oz or 2 servings per day.

  • Children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits to meet their recommended daily fruit intake.

  • Infants, children, and adolescents should not consume unpasteurized juice.

The report also says that juice should not be used in the treatment of dehydration or management of diarrhea and that excessive juice consumption may be associated with malnutrition (overnutrition and undernutrition).

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Preschoolers with 10 cavities are nothing to smile about

Earlier this month, a New York Times article brought to light a study by the Center for Disease Control which found that there was an increase in the number of preschoolers with cavities.

Even worse, “dentists nationwide say they are seeing more preschoolers at all income levels with 6 to 10 cavities or more. The level of decay, they added, is so severe that they often recommend anesthesia” for the children because they cannot sit for such a long procedure, according to the article.

So what is causing this scary trend? Bar parenting? Processed foods? Maybe it’s a little of both.

Endless Snacking – Our eating habits have changed. In the past, families sat down to three meals a day. Now, with busy lifestyles, the mobility that comes with cars and public transportation and fast easy food, such as microwavable snacks and packaged foods stuffed with preservatives to last, children and adults are snacking all day long which leads to an unlimited supply of food for the oral bacteria that cause cavities.

Bottled Water – Advertisers have done it again. They have found a way to sell ice to a polar bear. Or in this case, found a way to sell water to us when we already have it coming out of the faucet. More families are drinking bottled water rather than fluoridated water from the tap. Fluoridated water is a proven cavity fighter.

Lack of Knowledge – As a parent of young children, chances are you’re probably dodging the toddler toys on the floor while running around trying to cook, clean and keep track of your little one. Brushing teeth at night or taking a child to the dentist may be the last thing on your mind. Maybe you are unsure about when to start using fluoride toothpaste or when you should take your child to visit the dentist. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has a simple FAQ that can answer all your questions.

So step up parents, and do a little parenting before your kids teeth rot right out of their mouths.


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Sugar makes up 16 percent of kids’ diets

If you find that your kid is having bouts of hyperactivity followed by lulls of cranky tiredness, it’s probably because sugars make up 16 percent of their diet. That’s about 362 calories from added sugars for boys and about 282 calories for girls. In the teen years it increases to 442 calories for ages 12 through 19.

That’s not all the study, done by the CDC, found out.

  • Non-Hispanic white children and adolescents consume a larger percent of their calories from added sugars than do Mexican-American children and adolescents.
  • There was no difference in consumption of added sugars by income among children and adolescents

This is an important finding, at least in my opinion, because many people blame unhealthy eating on income; that those with lower income tend to eat fatty, sugary foods. And those with lower income are often minorities. These findings show that income might not have as big of a role in eating healthy as we thought. Although it is more expensive to buy organic, perhaps there are still other factors at play that affect the types of foods people eat.

In the middle ages, the rich often at sugary foods and no vegetables. The rich today still likes it just as sweet.

Other findings:

  • More added sugars calories came from foods rather than beverages.
  • More added sugars calories were consumed at home rather than away from home.

The fact that more added sugars are coming from the home is also disturbing to me. Home should be a haven for children. Parents should be protecting their children and providing for their children, and that includes providing them healthy, nutritional meals and snacks.

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