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


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Wheep... Wheepingchree

My daughter is three and we don't buy juice. She gets juice at her pre-school twice a week, which I'm not a huge fan of, but I can't control everything. I have a juicer that I use to make her apple carrot juice every once and a while.

nonmember avatar Leena

I've only ever let my child drink 2 ounces of juice mixed with 8 ounces of water or more. My mother did it with me as a child, and I still drink juice the same way. I could never finish the juice boxes she gave me in my lunch because I found them too sweet. I highly suggest it to everyone because it does set you up for a lifetime of healthier habits.

NoR_C... NoR_CaL_MoMmY

Natural sugar found in fruit isn't the same as sugar found in soda and "juice" boxes. An apple or orange can contain almost 20 grams of sugar.

mommy... mommytojack0524

Juice is a better option than a can of coke, which has no positive ingredients, but it's still not on the menu at my house. My son gets water or milk.

bandg... bandgeek521

My son (5 years old) gets one box  or "glass" (his kid sized cups) of juice a day - the kind with a serving of fruits and veggies - with lunch. He gets milk with breakfast and dinner, and the rest of the day we both drink water. We keep water bottles (the kind you fill yourself, lol, not the kind you drink and toss) in the fridge so there is ALWAYS cold water ready. Sometimes for breakfast he'll get a smoothie made with greek yogurt, bananas, oatmeal, almonds, ice, and baby spinach, but I don't add extra sugar or sweeteners to it. He loves it because the spinach turns it green (while also adding nutrients) and he thinks it looks cool. The main thing, though, is that he LOVES water, which I know can be a hard habit to get into, so I'm glad for that. :)

Now, if only I can get DH to give up on the soda ;) 

dekumama dekumama

I've never understood why anyone gives babies or children juice. My six year old drinks water. When we go to a restaurant, she orders water, because that's what she likes. At birthday parties, she asks for water. When she was tiny, I would give watered down juice, but then I thought about it. It's sticky and messier, more expensive, processed and sugary, and setting her up to have bad habits her whole life. And for what? Some vitamin C? I'd rather give whole fruits, or heck, even a supplement, over sugary, calorie laden drinks.

Kattey Kattey

My toddler gets a cup of juice a day (1/2 cup juice diluted with water). I know it isn't the best but every now and then you want something with flavor. and since she drinks water or milk the rest of the day, well, that's okey in my book.

I have a question for parents that only give their children water. Do you also only drink water?

bandg... bandgeek521

I do usually drink only water, except for v8 with lunch or the same kind of smoothie in the morning when he gets one. Every now and then I'll sneak a soda, but very rarely. DH drinks soda and keeps his in the house, but I do stay out of it except for very rarely. Or I'll have a chocolate milk before bed, after kiddo's asleep (though DS does sometimes get chocolate in his, so it's not like some kind of double standard, lol). And kiddo gets soda if we're eating out and it's a treat, I'm just careful that it's caffeine free. We don't go out often, though, lol.

lalab... lalaboosh

We pretty much only have water and coconut milk at home, but when we get juice or soda our daughter often gets a few sips or a small cup with a meal. I can't believe people still don't know that juice is sugary...

Nycti... Nyctimene

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that this is the adults who consume 2 litres or more of soda a day. Whether you're diabetic or not, that's unhealthy and leads most of them to be overweight or more overweight then they already were, which leds them to become more sedentary and then they have lots of health problems. It's vastly different then an active, healthy, healthy-weighted child having one juicebox a day. There's really no comparison you can even make here. This is a hype story for no reason.

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