At WIC I talk a lot to families with toddlers and also to pregnant woman about increasing water and decreasing soda, juice, iced tea etc…but a lot are not aware of the risks of drinking too much juice. The sugar in these drinks can:
- Increase weight gain
- Increase risk of cavities
- Fill stomachs so kids are less likely to eat at meal times
- Soft drinks in particular can increase risk of Type 2 Diabetes & other chronic illnesses (According to one study 1-2 cans of sugary drinks daily has a 26% greater risk of type II diabetes than those who rarely drink these drinks…)
These risks can also be applied to 100% and home-made “natural” juice because even if there’s no added sugar to these products there’s still a lot of natural sugar. And sugar is sugar is sugar.
For example, the nutrient label on 100% Apple Juice states 23 grams of sugar and 24 grams of carbohydrates (which are broken down into sugars), which equals 47 grams in total! To put this in perspective that’s about 11 teaspoons of sugar in a single cup.
For the most part, juice also doesn’t contain fiber which is found in whole fruits. Fiber slows sugar absorption into the blood stream so its impact on blood sugar is less than with juice.
Does this mean we can never enjoy juice again?
For adults one cup of juice daily is the recommended amount. For kids recommendations are based on their age group and put forth by the Academy of Pediatrics:
Infancy to 1 years of age: No juice (unless suggested for treatment of constipation, then 2-3 oz. of juice daily)
1-3 years of age: 4 oz. of juice daily
4-6 years of age: 4-6 oz. of juice daily
7 years and older: 1-8 oz. cup of juice daily
9 Fun Ways to Get more Water
1.) Offer water with a splash of juice just for taste
2.) Add seltzer water
3.) Add lemons, limes, or other fresh fruits and herb/spices to flavor water (A personal favorite of mine is green apples with cinnamon stick)
4.) Pour juice into ice cube trays, freeze, and serve in water
5.) Buy sparkling water (I loved these as a kid and drank more water too!)
6.) Offer kids the small 8 oz. water bottles when going to the park
7.) Add frozen grapes or other frozen fruits like blueberries or raspberries
8.) Use fun cups for water (mason jars)
9.) Use funky straws