A lot of people ask about whether juice is okay to drink, not just for themselves but for their kids. A healthy eating diet or a weight loss diet is really about MODERATION and including foods and a lifestyle that you can live with ongoing.
As a nutritionist I do not recommend juice as a feature in your diet.
If you love fresh juices, that is okay but drink them in moderation. For your children, a fresh juice every now and then, watered down is also okay, but again in moderation.
The reasons why I am not a big fan of juice are because:
- Juice has no fibre. When you juice your fruit, even freshly, all the excess ‘waste’ that is siphoned off is actually some of the most important part of the fruit, the fibre. Fibre is critical to your gut health and also assists you in feeling fuller for longer. The recommendations for eating 2 pieces of fruit per day for adults, is not only based on the vitamin and mineral profile from the fruits, but also the fibre.
- Once the fibre is taken out, you are drinking a lot of kilojoules which do not give you satisfaction from a satiety point of view. There has been some research done which talks about the link between young children drinking additional kilojoules each day rather than eating them and that this could be a factor in the increase in obesity in children. This is only one study, but it does make you think.
- Children should never be given juice in a bottle. This is greatly linked to tooth decay as the bottle sits in the mouth and the teeth are bathing in sugary juice with attracts the bacteria which causes tooth decay. Clarified apple juice(the clear amber juice), which I often see in babies’ bottles, is a definite no no as this type of apple juice has almost no nutritional benefit and is linked to causing diarrohea in children because of the high fructose level of the apple juice. Kids only need water and milk (formula or breast before 12 months and other types of milk after this age).
- Bottle juice is worse as it is often pasteurized or treated with heat to make sure the juice will have a shelf life either on the shelf or in the refrigerator. What happens when you heat treat your juice is all the heat sensitive vitamins and minerals are deactivated. Vitamins such as vitamin C are very sensitive to heat. Often the vitamins are added back into the juice post pasteurisation. Heat also kills flavour so bottled juice doesn’t taste as yummy. Bottled juice often uses preservatives as well. Some people are sensitive or intolerant to certain preservatives, especially sulphites. If you want to drink juice, drink it fresh.
- If you child like juice a lot and you are finding it difficult to get them off it, try watering it down slowly. Start ¾ juice, ¼ water and keep going. You will get there.
And if you want to drink your fruits, drink them in a smoothie. More specifically, drink them in a Healthy Mummy Smoothie. You still get all the benefits of the fibre of the fruit and it contributes to the thickness of the smoothie too! Win win.
Mandy dos Santos (BSc. Food Science and Nutrition, Grad. Cert. Human Nutrition)
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