Janelle Sorensen, Healthy Child Healthy World:
About the only time my husband and I buy juice boxes for our kids is when we’re headed on a long road trip or when we go camping. But that’s just us. In most American homes, juice boxes are a convenient staple and many moms see the word “juice” and automatically think “healthy.” Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Here are two ingredients that are far from healthy, yet often found in kids’ beverages:
- Added sweeteners. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is one of the most common sweeteners, but as we reported two years ago, a pilot study found mercury contamination in this ubiquitous ingredient. It’s also highly processed and made using genetically modified ingredients – a combination leading to still unclear impacts. In addition, some studies have linked consumption of excess amounts of any type of added sugar — not just high-fructose corn syrup — to such health problems as weight gain, dental cavities, poor nutrition, and more.
- Artificial food dyes. Over the last three decades, repeated studies have concluded that modest doses of synthetic colors added to foods can provoke hyperactivity and other disturbed behavior in children. (We believe that’s enough damning evidence, despite the US FDA’s call for more research before regulating these toxic tints.)
What can you do?
Read the ingredients. Look for 100% juice products. Opt for organic if possible. And, experiment with new products and flavors. There are so many innovative and healthy options these days, from fresh fruit juices and smoothies to cold teas and coconut water — which my family can’t get enough of these days!
Call manufacturers. Ask that they remove these unnecessary additives. Also, ask about what the product is packaged in. Increasingly, studies are finding that toxic components of food packaging are leaching into our foods and beverages. It’s also preferable to find something you can recycle. (Or, buy beverages in larger recyclable containers and fill reusable juice boxes or stainless steel bottles.)
What are your family’s favorite drinks?
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