Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Juice is NOT a F@*#$*&g Fruit!

In case you're not aware, Canada's official Food Guide formally recognizes half a cup of juice as a fruit equivalent. This of course despite both the Canadian and American Pediatric Societies putting a half cup maximum on juice consumption in young children and a full cup for everyone else.

Not surprisingly  juice manufacturers hone right in on the Food Guide's recommendations and use them as a means to market their products to parents like that seen on the advertisement for grape juice up above. And don't forget too, children are taught the Food Guide as gospel in grade school and it serves as the backbone of any institutional food program (including daycares and preschools).

So are Canadian children drinking too much juice?

Good god yes.

A recent study published in Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism set out to determine Canadian fruit and vegetable consumption.

Their findings?

The average Canadian child between the ages of 2 and 8 is consuming 50% more than their recommended juice maximums. But that's not the whole story. Some kids are chugging tons of the stuff with the 75th percentile of 2-3 year olds drinking 2.5x as much which means 25% of Canadian preschoolers are drinking even more than that!

Juice is sugar water with vitamins. It has drop per drop the same amount of sugar as soda pop and in some cases more (like that grape juice which has double the sugar of Coca-Cola - 10 staggering teaspoons a glass). Liquid calories don't satiate, and they don't pack the fibre and phytonutrients of actual fruit.

So do you think the Food Guide's inclusion of juice as a fruit, or to put it differently the Food Guide's failure to admonish against juice consumption might have something to do with its consumption among Canadian preschoolers?

I sure do. And while it's not true causal proof, looking to Australia, a country where their Food Guide explicitly discourages juice consumption and sets the same half cup maximum as the Canadian and American Pediatric societies, my read of this report has their average 2-3 year olds drinking only a third of a cup of juice a day.

Bottom line?

Our Food Guide stinks and what it says does matter.

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  1. Agreed to everything above! Especially your last comment "Our food guide stinks..."

    p.s. I love the title of this one

    1. Same here! I agree to everything they have posted. Before trying out any food guide try to do some research if what your eating and what not is enough and good for you.

  2. Like ketchup is a vegetable...*eye roll*

  3. Anonymous7:23 am

    Hi No doubts you will ahve seen this article http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3402009/ on the cellularity of starches and on how juicing removes the integral structure of plant cells and makes nutrients more easily and quickly absorbed including sugars..hence insulin spikes and everything else that goes with it!

  4. Anonymous7:42 am

    As much as I agree with you that juice should not be included on the Food Guide I feel that it is important to note that it specifically states that it is only 100% fruit juice (i.e. not a sugar and water mixture such as the grape juice pictured above). The food guide also suggests to choose juice less often than other options. So, I do agree that juice should not be included on the food guide, but I also think that it is important to note that the food guide is not promoting the likes of Kool-aid as a serving of fruit and vegetables.

    1. Anonymous1:08 pm

      Anonymous 7:42a: that photo shows pure juice. And, 100% fruit juice really isn't any better than Kool-aid.

    2. Anonymous7:41 pm

      I have to disagree! If you were to make a juice at home (say with a juicer) you are keeping most of the vitamins and minerals of the fruit or vegetable that is put into the juicer. You will of course lose some of the nutrient content (i.e. the fibre) than you would have if you were to eat the whole fruit or vegetable on it's own, but that is a much healthier option than choosing Kool-aid. I realize my mistake that the juice pictured above states that it is 100% juice, but it is always important to look at the ingredients list on these products to see if anything else is added into them. As I stated before, I don't agree with juice being on the food guide, but I think the recommendation needs to be looked at for what it is. If we are going to get the nutrients of fruit and vegetables from a homemade juice (with nothing else added in but the whole fruit and vegetable) this is 100% better than putting empty calories into our bodies from sugary water.

    3. Sorry, must disagree. fresh squeezed juice made at home is still sugar-water. Where does sugar come from? Plants! If you look at the ingredients of grape juice, there is no sugar added. Grapes are just naturally very high in sugar, apple juice less so but still basically naturally occurring sugar and water. What vitamins and minerals that can be found in juice can be found in much better sources, like whole solid fruits.

      I agree with Anon 1:08, 100% fruit juice is essentially the same as kool-aid, a sugar delivery mechanism.

    4. Anonymous1:34 pm

      I think the important point to take is that juice is in no way the best method to take to get any sort of fruit and vegetable intake in, but if a person is going to make a juice at home with nothing added to it but the fruit and vegetable or not eat fruit and vegetables at all than of course a juice is a better option. This would still provide them with some of the nutrients that they would otherwise miss out on completely (albeit the sugar as well).

      No one is disputing that whole solid fruits are the best option, but I also think that we need to keep in mind that the Canada's Food Guide was created to help everyone to follow a healthier diet and if consuming 1/2 a cup of pure fruit juice once or twice a week is the only way you will get nutrients from the fruit or vegetable than this is better than not at all.

  5. Completely agree! Also love the title! Certainly got my attention. I think drinking juice should be similar to eating out, just an occasional treat, not part of the everyday meal plan!

  6. Anonymous8:22 am

    I don't believe the author lead us on to think the food guide was encouraging sugary "juices". The author is correct in calling juices, here specifically 100% juice, sugar water with vitamins. Once you take away the pulp, the substance, the liquid is just that, sugar, called fructose, naturally occurring fruit sugar. And it still gets treated like any other sugar in our body. So other than the minute amount of vitamins it contains, it really does have very little nutritional value. Just something to chew, er drink, on.

    1. Anonymous8:59 am

      Actually all sugars are not handled the same by the body. Fructose is the hardest sugar for the body to metabolize, and should be consumed in very small quantities.

      If you watch the documentary "Sugar: The Bitter Truth" the Doctor (Endocrinologist) explains fruit as (and any mis-quoting is my fault) "god packaging the poison with the remedy". He goes on to explain that eating whole fruit gives you all the fibre & nutrients that help the body better cope with the fructose. To drink juice (fructose) is to simply take the poison.

  7. D Papacosta9:27 am

    It's a shame that parents fall for the marketing of juices as fruit. When my kids were toddlers they learned to drink water when they were thirsty, and to eat fruit as a snack. The rare time they had juice (usually on hot summer days), it was watered down. Would be great if parents stopped putting pop and juice in the fridge altogether.

  8. Wait: Does this mean beer is not a f@*#$*&g grain?

  9. Jennifer Taylor10:01 am

    Yoni- swearing at the food guide? The groups are based on nutrient content and the messaging on the guide is CLEAR- eat whole fruit rather than juice.

    I love it when you go after industry, but picking on the Food Guide (and doing one is a thankless job) is not helpful. What it does do is undermine all the good messages it contains. C'mon- focus on the real bad guys!

  10. Preach!

    Great post Yoni!

  11. Anonymous9:37 pm

    When my first child turned 6 months old, his pediatrician gave me a "guide" as to what to feed my baby which was generously provided to the office by Gerber and it included juice! I fortunately knew better.

  12. Anonymous9:50 pm

    Too funny that you post this!! Just had an argument with my mother-in-law about this, this past weekend. She was worried my son had not eaten much during the day and he wasn't feeling good. I told him to go lie down and I would be up to check in him,she insisted on taking him some juice(that she brought because I don't keep it in the house) to make him feel better! She got offended when I took it away from her and replaced it with water because I said sugar wasn't going to make him feel any better!!
    Thank you for this!!

  13. Anonymous1:31 pm

    Yeah, big poster in the cafeteria in a nearby hospital encouraging parents of young children to lose the squash and pop and instead "choose healthy options like milk or juice."


  14. from the Welch's website...nutritional information on 8 oz/1 cup/240 ml of this product: 140 calories, 210 mg potassium, 1 g protein; US RDA (ChooseMyPlate.gov): 120 % vitamin C, 2 % calcium, 6 % magnesium & 20% manganese.

    you'll notice there's one value missing (because i wanted to highlight it): total carbohydrate: 38 g & sugars: 36 g

    and considering that (http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/Dietary-Recommendations-for-Healthy-Children_UCM_303886_Article.jsp), it is recommended for 1-8 year-old kids to have 900-1400 calories and 1-1.5 cups of ACTUAL fruit per day...there's NO way that juice can be justified at ALL.

  15. Anonymous10:17 am

    Interesting right now that there is a TV ad for breakfast programs, featuring the cutest little boy picking up his breakfast in which the focus is a minute maid juice box. Hard for parents to know what to believe.

  16. Anonymous11:41 pm

    I use 100% pure grape juice as a poor-man's OGGT (oral glucose tolerance test)...

    You wouldn't believe how high and how fast an 8oz glass of grape juice will spike someone with impaired glucose tolerance. It's terrifying.

  17. I've read the second part of this blog post first before this. These are not just any juice products but these are famous and very accessible juice drinks that even a 5 year old can buy. I've always been against artificial juice drinks even when I was still a kid. I was conscious of my body. I remember being hooked to drinking these kinds of juice because all the other kids, mostly the famous kids were drinking it. It was only for a short while because my skin problems were recurring and I didn't like the way my stomach felt with those drinks that's why I stopped. Now, kids are always looking up adults and if their school is provided with a breakfast by these artificial juice manufacturing companies, then that's just sad. Adults should be looking out for the overall well being of these kids. It's just sad.