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Watch That Juice Drinking

April 29, 2017
Plain English Version

Fruits and their juices.

Of course, you thought fresh orange juice was good for you and your children. Who does not? Some experts do not.

A good many Americans think fruit juice is as healthy as the fruit it came from. Experts say juice is not a health food. It is little more than sugar water.

Juice bars are now everywhere. They are in health clubs, spas, and health food stores.

WIC is the chief federal feeding program for pregnant women and young children. It supplies lots of juice to the families in the program.

Juice making machines are big sellers. They take whole fruit and turn it into good tasting juice.

When you drink juice, you leave some of the healthiest parts of the fruit behind. For example, you do not eat the skin on your apple. You do not digest the seeds in your raspberries. The membranes that hold orange segments together are good for you.

That is where most of the fiber, as well as many of the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, are hiding. Fiber is good for our gut. It fills us up and slows the absorption of the sugars we eat. It results in smaller spikes in insulin.

A large kale, banana and orange smoothie contains more than 600 calories. You might “feel full” right after drinking a glass of juice or a fresh smoothie. But that sensation goes away after the liquid empties out of your stomach.

Commenters say the same concerns do not hold true for vegetable juices. They are healthy.

Fruit juice comes in easy single serving packages. Children do not need juice for nutrition. Nutritionists recommend Six ounces or less daily for kids under six years of age. Research has shown that kids who drink a lot of juice are shorter and heavier than kids who rarely drink juice. One reason may be that they drink less milk. Milk is something young children need for healthy growth.

These experts say juice does not belong at the breakfast table. It is not for after-your-gym workout. Have your kids drink milk.  It contains only about a third of the sugar contained in juice. It is also a great source of the protein, calcium, vitamin D and magnesium that growing kids need.

Is this good advice? There are lots of differences of opinion.

Source: The Washington Post April 26, 2017

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