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Soda in a sippy cup? NOPE! But researchers say that when a baby’s bottle or cup is filled with juice — even the 100 percent, all-natural, no-sugar-added stuff — parents might as well be pouring Pepsi. Last night I was filling my nieces sippy bottles with “fresh cold” water as they like to call it (a.k.a. bottled cold water fresh out of the refrigerator)….was it a little over the top to pour super cold water in a bottle? Not really when I thought more about it.

Many people mistakenly believe that as long as you are drinking fruit juice, it’s healthy even though it’s sweet, but this is a dangerous misconception that is fueling the rising rates of weight gain, obesity, fatty liver disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes in the United States and other developed nations.

Consumption of sweetened beverages has been associated with the rise in childhood obesity. The USDA’s publication “Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010” estimates that obesity rate in children age 6 to 11 increased from 4 percent in the early 1970s to 20 percent in 2007 to 2008. Many factors have contributed to this disturbing statistic, including beverage intake. This reminds me of many children who drink juice over soda because parents might think its healthier, but isn’t it a lot of sugar? What happen to water? What’s really better – soda or juice?

Though healthy in moderation, juice essentially is water and sugar. In fact, a 12-ounce bottle of grape soda has 159 calories. The same amount of unsweetened grape juice packs 228 calories.

Quick Tips: Fruit Juice is NOT a Healthy Beverage

  • First off, most fruit drinks on the market should be more aptly named flavored sugar-water, because many contain next to no real juice.
  • If your fruit juice is actually labeled a “fruit drink,” “fruit beverage,” or “fruit cocktail,” it’s because it does not contain 100% juice.
  • In fact, according to the Discovery graphic, on average fruit drinks contain just 10% fruit juice!

Make Your Children Aware
As a parent, it’s important to talk to your kids not only about the health implications of drinking soda, but also those from drinking all sugary beverages such as fruit juice and fruit drinks.

  • Children’s exposure to TV ads for sugary drinks from Coca-Cola and Dr Pepper Snapple Group nearly doubled from 2008 to 2010.
  • MyCokeRewards.com was the most-visited sugary drink company website with 170,000 unique youth visitors per month (42,000 of whom were young children and 129,000 were teens); Capri Sun’s website was the second-most viewed site, attracting 35,000 young children and 35,000 teens per month.
  • Twenty-one sugary drink brands had YouTube channels in 2010 with more than 229 million views by June 2011, including 158 million views for the Red Bull channel alone.
  • Coca-Cola was the most popular of all brands on Facebook, with more than 30 million fans; Red Bull and Monster ranked 5th and 15th, with more than 20 million and 11 million fans, respectively.

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So What Should Your Child Drink? Kicking your kid’s soda habit starts at home.
Instead of soda or juice, offer your children water or low-fat or non-fat milk. As children age, their calcium requirements go up, not down, so your growing child should be drinking plenty of milk, too. To help your children cut back on sugary drinks, don’t stock them at home. This will help them understand that sodas are for special occasions, not a daily treat.

4 IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT JUICE VS. SODA 

Caloric Intake
In terms of calories, soda and juice contain similar amounts. A 1-cup serving of cola contains 91 calories, whereas the same size serving of orange juice contains 122 calories. In terms of fighting childhood obesity, neither beverage offers a clear advantage. Combined with reduced physical activity, consumption of either beverage sets up the scenario for weight gain.

Nutrient Intake
Juice offers a clear nutritional advantage over soda. A 1-cup serving of cola contains virtually no vitamins and only trace amounts of calcium, iron or phosphorus. A 1-cup serving of orange juice, on the other hand, provides over 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin C. It is also a good dietary source of potassium and vitamin A. Cola has 22 g of total sugar to orange juice’s 20 g. By consuming juice rather than soda, you have the satisfaction that you have chosen the healthier beverage.

Caffeine Content
One concern you may have with soda is its caffeine content. The actual amount varies with the type of soda. A cup of cola contains about 64 mg of caffeine. By contrast, coffee contains 60 to 150 mg. Consumption of caffeine can cause headaches and dizziness in some individuals. The risk also exists for caffeine toxicity. A study from University of Miami researchers, published in the March 2011 issue of “Pediatrics,” explains that high consumption of caffeine in children with existing health conditions such as diabetes or behavioral disorders can lead to adverse effects.

Obesity
Soft drink consumption has increased 300 percent from 1988 to 2008. A study from Wayne State University School of Nursing in Michigan, published in the February 2008 issue of the “Journal of the School of Nursing,” reports that between 56 to 85 percent of school-aged children consume at least one soft drink daily. The study also points out that for every soft drink consumed, the risk of obesity increases 1.6 times. Juice doesn’t fare much better. A study from the University of California, Davis, published in the November 2002 issue of the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” found that fructose consumption was also associated with weight gain and insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. These findings suggest that consumption of all sugar-sweetened beverages should be limited in children.

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0020048We love to eat berries in the summer, and inevitably, berry juice drips its way to the shirts and shorts of the wearer! Sometimes certain stain sticks don’t work, but this usually does:

Mix a few drops each of vinegar, dish soap and water, and apply to the stain on the machine washable garment. Let it sit for a while and rinse. For tough stains, it may take another application, then machine wash as usual.  I used to use it on dark juice stains too – but I’ve noticed most juice in juice boxes now are colorless!

(I don’t know which is more troubling… Juice that is over-colored, or juice that has none at all!)

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