Fruit juice is touted as a healthy, vitamin-packed drink. But is it really the best beverage for kids and adults? Here’s the truth about juice, from Richard J. Johnson, M.D., and Timothy Gower, authors of The Sugar Fix: The High-Fructose Fallout That Is Making You Fat and Sick.
It’s portrayed in advertisements as wholesome and nutritious. But just how healthy is fruit juice?
First, the good news. Depending on which variety you choose, a glass of fruit juice may contain vitamin C, vitamin A, and other antioxidants, as well as potassium and other minerals. Some varieties have a small amount of protein. Others may be fortified with calcium.
That said, there are several good reasons to limit how much fruit juice you drink. For starters, the dominant sweetener in most juice is fructose. In fact, fruit juice usually has a much greater amount of this troublesome sugar than occurs naturally in whole fruit.
Only products that contain 100 percent fruit juice may bear the word “juice” on their labels. Fruit-flavored products that carry the words “drink,” “beverage,” “punch,” or “cocktail” may contain very little real fruit. Instead, they are often sweetened with large amounts of HFCS or table sugar.
A number of studies have provided dramatic evidence indicating that drinking too much fruit juice can make children gain weight. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to limit the amount of fruit juice they allow their children to consume to one serving (4 to 6 ounces) per day for children ages 1 to 6, two servings per day for children 7 to 18.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Richard J. Johnson, M.D., has been a practicing physician and clinical research scientist for more than twenty-five years. He currently serves as Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension at University of Colorado Health Sciences in Denver, Colorado. Timothy Gower is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in many publications, including Prevention, Esquire, Men’s Health, The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times. He resides in Massachusetts. They are the authors of The Sugar Fix: The High-Fructose Fallout That Is Making You Fat and Sick (Copyright © 2009 by Richard J. Johnson, MD, with Timothy Gower).
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