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Fruit Juice Consumption Remains A Problem For Youth

The disastrous role sugar plays in the global obesity epidemic is open for debate. I was surprised to find CNN coming to the defense of sugar-laden juices in a recent article. They took at face value a study that claimed in children over 7 there is no association between weight gain and drinking one serving of fruit juice a day. In children under 7, less than half a pound of weight could be attributed to fruit juice consumption.

Defenders of pure fruit juices often argue that they are preferable to soda and the various fruit-flavored beverages. Talk about setting the bar low. They may be a source of vitamins and nutrients, if freshly squeezed and unadulterated, but the real issue is the sugar. One 8-ounce glass of orange juice has about eight full teaspoons of sugar, and at least 50 percent of that sugar is fructose.

That's almost as much as a can of soda and translates to 25 grams of fructose. This is more than an adult should have the entire day and is a shock to your system. Of course, many people, especially kids and teenagers, drink far more sugary fruit drinks in a day than that, and that's just what the beverage companies are banking on.

Around 100 years ago the average American consumed a mere 15 grams of fructose a day, primarily in the form of whole fruit. Today, a quarter of Americans are consuming more than 135 grams per day (that's over a quarter of a pound!), largely in the form of soda and other sweetened beverages. You can see why it is important not to get children in the habit of turning to sugary beverages or pretend these drinks have no impact of childhood obesity.

When did sweet fruit juice become synonymous with childhood? Fortunately, there are alternatives, and I suggest you consider juicing instead. You can also utilize the step-by-step approach described in my nutrition plan to remove all processed foods from your diet.
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