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Fruit Juices Worsen Obesity Epidemic

To those of you who may still believe sugary fruit juices are a healthier alternative to soft drinks, consider their detrimental effect on childhood obesity, according to a new study.

Researchers monitored the health of some 2,800 children (ages 1-4) receiving assistance from a food program, collecting dietary information and measuring their height and weight twice annually over a four-year period.

Children who were on the verge or already overweight gained more body fat as their juice intake grew, while those who ate more whole fruit added fewer pounds. One caveat: Children maintaining a healthier weight at the start of the study didn't experience the same increase in body fat, one of a few reasons the American Academy of Pediatrics probably uses to justify backing away from any ban on fruit juices.

Two excellent reasons to keep your children as far away from fruit juices as you can:

  • The average serving of fruit juice contains eight full teaspoons of sugar, typically derived from fructose, a substance that can be every bit as dangerous to the health of your kids as table sugar.
  • Drinks like orange juice are often made with fruits than have been contaminated with toxic mold and are pasteurized too.

Pediatrics, Vol. 118, No. 5, November 2006: 2066-2075

MSNBC November 8, 2006