A new survey by Action on Sugar, on the hidden sugars found in ‘healthy’ children’s fruit juices, juice drinks & smoothies, found that over a quarter of the products surveyed contain the same amount or more sugars than Coca Cola (which contains five teaspoons of sugar per 200ml glass).
With 1 in 5 children aged 4-5 and 1 in 3 children aged 10-11 now overweight, and tooth decay being the most common reason for children in England being admitted to hospital, Action on Sugar is recommending parents to give children water or whole fruit instead of juice to drink, and urging manufacturers to reduce the level of sugars in their drinks.
Action on Sugar is concerned that these drinks are marketed to children and parents as ‘healthy’. As dentists we are concerned with the tooth decay and dental erosion that can occur as a result of these drinks, but there is also increasing evidence that regular sugary drink consumption is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Action on Sugar’s advice is to “eat the fruit, don’t drink the juice”. Fruit juice and smoothies should be an occasional treat, and not an ‘everyday’ drink. These processed drinks are high in sugar and calories and do not have the nutritional benefits of fresh fruit and vegetables.