100% Fruit Juices May Cause Weight Gain in Kids

Juvenile obesity is a significant concern in the United States.  There are many reasons why American kids are likely to suffer from obesity, and one of the biggest reasons lies in their diet. It turns out that sugar can sneak up into the food that your children eat.

But while many people blame greasy fast-food meals as the cause of obesity, many health advocates have expressed their concerns about the sugar from fruit juices. Yes, even 100% fruit juices are linked to childhood obesity according to the study published in the journal Pediatrics.

Research Results on 100% Fruit Juices

The study noted that consumption of 100% fruit juice is linked to weight gain among children from the age 6 and below. However, no association has been found for children older than seven years.  According to Dr. Brandon Auerbach from the University of Washington, parents should be cautious when it comes to giving fruit juices to children. Instead of giving them 100% fruit juices, they should give them whole fruit, water, or low-fat unsweetened milk.

So, what makes drinking fruit juices unhealthy? Although they may be derived from organic fruits, 100% fruit juices contain high amounts of natural sugar. Fruits contain fructose, which is a naturally-occurring sugar that can also be stored as fat in the liver. Fruit juice is devoid of fiber that slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Aside from weight gain, consumption of fruit juices can also lead to other diseases like cavities and metabolic disease like diabetes.

How Much is Too Much?

How much fruit juice, is too much? Researchers found out that consumption of even one daily serving of fruit can cause weight gain of up to 0.3 pounds. So, if a 5-year old girl consumes 4 ounces of 100% fruit juice for a year, this will translate to a weight gain of ½ of a pound. The research also noted that the effects are also amplified the longer children drank fruit juice, the more weight they gain through time. Overall, the study indicated that serving 8 ounces of 100% fruit juice is associated with an increased body mass index within a year among young children.

But if you must give fruit juice to your kids, make sure that you don’t give more than 6 ounces of juice every day. Try to avoid giving fruit juices to infants. It is a better option to give whole unadulterated fruits to children so that they can maximize their health benefits as they contain more fiber than juice.

The study indicates that children should not be drinking fruit juice particularly in the first six years of their lives. With the result of the survey, the US Department of Agriculture’s Child and Adult Food Care Program is working to eliminate fruit juices in the diet of younger children to avoid the risk of obesity.

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