While standing in line to check out at the grocery store, my daughter asked for a drink from the little cooler.  When I said no, she said, “But its healthy.  Look, there’s fruit on the label.”  We spent the rest of the time in line looking at ingredient labels and learning what is really in some of those drinks.  That got me thinking.  Do kids, and their parents, really know what is in some of the drinks marketed to families as healthy?

This apple juice is labelled as 100% organic and the only listed ingredient is organic apple juice.  That means it was directly squeezed from apples and put into the bottle. Of course its healthy, right?  A look at the nutritional content label says otherwise.  The numbers are sometimes hard to make sense of, but lets compare apple juice to something clearly NOT healthy, a 12oz can of Coke.  12oz of Coke has 40g of carbohydrates and 10 teaspoons of sugar and 145 calories.  The organic apple juice has 42g of carbohydrates and 10 teaspoons of sugar and 165 calories.  That’s right, the same amount of sugar is in both Coke and “All Natural” apple juice and the juice has MORE calories. 

Hookedonjuice.com has this to say, “Whether fruit juice is “100 percent juice” or not is almost beside the point — both kinds are loaded with sugar and calories. If it’s “100 percent juice” the sugar is from the fructose that’s naturally present in fruit; if it’s “10 percent juice” (or 20 percent, or whatever), most of the sugar is in the form of high-fructose corn syrup. Snacking on sugary beverages all day long, whether they’re soft drinks or fruit juice, is not a good thing, for kids or adults. Over-consumption of sugar contributes to obesity and diabetes.”

When the kids need a drink, go with water.  Sports drinks, fruit juice, Fuze, CapriSun and all other kid favorites are loaded with sugar.  That’s what makes them tast good.  Sugar does a ton of bad stuff to your body, but the most important is decreasing your insulin sensitivity.  In kids, this can create a chronic health problems.  Stick to water and get your fruit with occasional, actual pieces of fruit.  An apple has only 2.5 teaspoons of sugar.

In case you are wondering about any other types of juices, check out this chart from the hookedonjuice.com site.  Each of these juices is a “no sugar added” verion.  Imagine how this would look if they used the more common juices with High Fructose Corn Syrup.