That Juice Box Could Be Killing Your Kid

orange juiceHere’s a good reason to think twice before you say yes to that soda with dinner, or even a glass of OJ with breakfast: a new study finds that a full 1 percent of obesity-related deaths can be attributed to sugary drink consumption. That’s 180,000 deaths per year, including 25K Americans. Can I get a YIKES?

I’m always surprised by how many kids my fourth-grade daughter’s age (and below!) are allowed to drink actual cans of soda. But it’s not just soda that we have to watch out for! Even fruit juice is loaded with sugar, something that I didn’t fully really realize until my husband and I got into an argument about it the other weekend while we were out to breakfast with our daughter. I whipped out my iPhone to prove him wrong when he said that sugar-wise, I might just as well let Isabella have a can of soda as let her order a glass of orange juice. And sugar-wise -- he was right! (I hate that!)

A can of Coke has 27 grams of sugar; an 8-ounce glass of pure OJ has 32! (And that's just juice, not a "juice" beverage with added sugar and who knows what else.) Of course, orange juice at least has vitamins in it, but still, that’s a lot of sugar, and when you consider how we seem to get more and more unhealthy as a country, it seems so important we make sure our kids are aware of the fact that just because it's a drink doesn't mean it's not a treat.

I’m worried that the juice box I put in my daughter’s lunch is sending the wrong message, but at least she knows that we only buy her the low-sugar options (with less than 10 grams). And a great option for a drink when we go out to breakfast or even dinner is a club soda with a splash of OJ or cranberry juice.

Now, this 180K death per year study is, of course, referring to adults, and most of these deaths are related to diabetes (a smaller percent is attributed to heart disease and cancer), so they're obviously the result of a combination of lifestyle and health factors. It’s no surprise that the American Beverage Association says the report is "more about sensationalism than science," but the fact remains that it’s really easy to drink down a ton of sugar -- or worse, feed it to our kids -- without even realizing it.

How often do you let your kids drink juice or soda?

 

Image via bfishadow/Flickr

food, kid health, kids nutrition