Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Juice as a Gateway Drug For Soda

Is juice a gateway drink?

That's the question asked by some Harvard and University of Michigan researchers in their paper, "Juice and water intake in infancy and later beverage intake and adiposity: Could juice be a gateway drink?" (free full text link here)

It may follow. Train your child's palate to enjoy cloyingly sweet beverages in early childhood and they'll be more likely to continue consuming them later in life.

To try to shed some light on that question the researchers studied the association between 1 year olds' juice and water intakes (as reported by their mothers) to their reported intakes of sugar sweetened beverages in early and mid childhood.

After controlling for confounding maternal socio-economic, ethnic (though the authors report that there was limited ethnic variation), and health variables the researchers found that higher juice intake at 1 year correlated with higher juice and sugar sweetened beverage intake, and higher weights, at early and mid childhood.

Juice is a glass of sugar water with a small smattering of vitamins. It's not sating. It has little if any fibre, and it is stripped of much of the originating fruit's phytonutrients. The World Health Organization, Canada's Heart and Stroke Foundation, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Pediatric Society all caution against its regular consumption.

Juice is basically flat soda pop, and should be treated as such, with the aim being the consumption of the smallest amount of juice you need to enjoy your life, and its marked limitation in children.

[Thanks to Laval University's Dr. Michel Lucas for sending this study my way]