Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Eliminated Soda? Juice Should Be Next.

"Juice is just like soda, and I'm saying it right here on camera," pediatric obesity specialist Robert Lustig said in the documentary "The Weight of the Nation," produced in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "There is no difference. When you take fruit and squeeze it, you throw the fiber in the garbage. That was the good part of the fruit. The juice is nature's way of getting you to eat your fiber."

The American Academy of Pediatrics has advised limiting daily juice consumption to 4 to 6 ounces for children 6 and younger and 8 to 12 ounces (the size of a soda can) for children 7 to 18. The academy's head of environmental health took it even further when he said children do not need to drink any juice at all. "Don't drink an apple," he said. "Eat an apple."

While numerous studies that show correlations between increased fruit juice consumption and increased risk of obesity and diabetes, there are no studies that show the opposite - that drinking a glass or two of fruit juice each day will have positive long-term health benefits on weight or diabetes. Even 100 percent juice beverages can contain as much sugar as there is in soda. In addition, most commercial fruit juice is derived from concentrates, which often results in a higher sugar content than if the product were, say, simply squeezed from oranges.

While the public health community is coming to increasing agreement on fruit juice, some believe it could take years to persuade parents and school districts to act on the findings. Soft drink companies have fought hard to replace soft drinks with fruit juice (made by juice companies they bought) and will fight just as hard to keep them ubiquitous, but the research has shown fruit juice has the same effect as soft drinks on our health - all adverse, negative and fairly severe.

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