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Is Organic Juice good for kids?

There has been a lot of hoopla about juice in recent months.  The core problem with juice is that the sugar levels are very high and, with juice drinks (juice products with water added), low in nutritional value.  It is clear that sugar filled drinks are contributing to obesity and diabetes in children.  Don’t believe me, take a trip to your friendly local Walmart and check out the bear guts on the under 12 crowd.  It is disheartening to say the least.  I have found that many pediatricians recommend giving your child small amounts (1/2 to 1 cup) of 100%  juice a day if at all.    The idea is to make sure that they are getting enough nutritional value out of the drink to justify the sugar content.  Personally, I am an advocate of moderate juice use and believe that fruit juice encourages children to try fruits they normally would not try had they not tried the juice first.

Example: I tried to get a constipated two year old to eat some prunes.  No Dice.  Come hell or high water she was not going to put one of those prunes in her mouth.  Plan B.  Prune juice.  She drank it up and within minutes my wife had convinced her that the juice was made from the fruit and we had to stop her from eating to many.

What to look for:

When buying  juice there are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Try to buy organic juice whenever possible.  Fruits and vegetables are often grown with chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.  These chemicals find their way into the meat of the fruit and sit on the skin.  Sourcing an organic juice is the key to avoiding those problems.

2.  If you must purchase non-organic juice, make sure that the only ingredient is the juice of the fruit in question.  Many times you are not getting what you think.  Consider the health juggernaut  pomegranate (check out this video on the benefits of this superfruit) and the myriad of “pomegranate” juices out there.  Most label the main ingredient as water or grape juice and often times pomegranate is the fourth or fifth ingredient after purple carrot juice (usually just enough for a deep red color and little nutritional value) and other fruits to fill it up.  The point is that you are getting very little pomegranate in your “pomegranate” juice.  This is the case many times over when dealing with expensive fruits.

3.  Try to stay away from concentrates, even organic ones, as the sugar content is typically much higher and the nutrition value much lower (there are many exceptions; READ NUTRITION FACTS)

Remember.  Moderation is the key to raising healthy, organic kids.

Check out http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fruit-juice/an01631 for professional information on juice and its effect on children.

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