Here is why you should reconsider giving your child fruit juice to drink
It's easy to think you are offering your children something healthy and all-natural by giving them a glass of apple- or orange juice – but experts are warning us we need to rethink this completely.
Australian author, paediatric emergency nurse and vocal advocate for child safety and children’s health, Sarah Hunstead, recently had this to say when asked about fruit juice on parenting podcast Ain't That The Truth.
“What we know is that breastfeeding, milk [or formula] and water are the best things that children can drink,” Hunstead explains. “Juice can be quite acidic, it can be quite high in sugar and it can be really bad for kids’ teeth.”
Fruit in its whole form, she argues, is a better option.
“When you compare fruit juice to eating a whole piece of fruit, the fruit juice is missing a lot of fibre,” the paediatric expert notes, highlighting that actual fruit is always a better option.
One of the main problems with juice is the amount consumed.
“You can consume a lot of juice, in comparison to eating fruit itself," says Hunstead. "So for example, you couldn’t eat seven apples, but you could easily down the juice of seven apples. Juice should be the exception, rather than the rule,” she says, explaining that kids don’t need to drink juice daily and that the Australian dietary guidelines suggest no more than half a cup of juice a day for a toddler.
Be sceptical of food labels
There can be a vast difference between something that is an actual fruit juice and a drink labelled a 'juice drink,' according to the expert.
“Any ‘fruit drink’ may only have five percent juice in it, so there could be sugar, flavourings, all sorts of other things put in there. But a 100 percent juice is something that doesn’t have any other additives, so look a little more closely at the ingredients."
A better option – if you can get your kids onboard – are vegetable juices, which have much less sugar and are full of goodness.