Fruit Juice – Friend or Foe?

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Fruit juice has been in the media a lot recently and as a Mum/Dietitian it’s something I often get asked about.

It’s true that many adults and children struggle to achieve their “5 a day” and it could be argued that fruit juice is a one vehicle for getting more fruit into our diets. However, a lot of attention has recently been directed, by the Department of Health, at the high levels of sugar in fruit juice and how fruit juice is one of the main sources of sugar in the UK diet. Kids do love fruit juice and according to recent National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) data fruit juice accounts for 9% of the sugar intake in 4-10 year olds (soft drinks were 11%).

Essentially, sugar is sugar, whether it is added to your food or from natural sources. Sugar has been linked with addiction, weight gain, obesity and diabetes. Fruit juice is also strongly associated with tooth decay. Currently 150ml of pure fruit juice counts as a maximum of one of your “5 a day” and smoothies count only as 2 of your 5 a day but it looks like the government may be soon revising these guidelines and recommended we drink less.

My top tip
Do offer your child the occasional glass of diluted fruit juice but otherwise give water as their main drink.

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