A paper, released in the journal BMJ Open, has found that many fruit juices, fruit drinks and smoothies aimed at children are overloaded with sugar, to the tune of more than 40% of them containing at least the maximum daily intake of 19 g of the stuff. Furthermore, 64% of them have been found to contain half the daily maximum intake amount.
There is, now, an outcry to stop referring to these drinks as servings of fruit due to the incredible ratio of sugar to vitamins.
“Research shows the body metabolizes fruit juice in a different way compared to whole fruit. After whole fruit consumption, the body seems to adjust its subsequent energy intake appropriately, whereas after fruit juice consumption, the body does not compensate for the energy intake,” say the researchers.
They believe that tough action is needed to reduce the amount of sugar kids are consuming.
“These are marketed intensively to children as well as to parents,” said Prof Simon Capewell of the department of public health and policy at the University of Liverpool, one of the authors. “They are routinely packaged in garish colours. They routinely have cartoons and other sort of folksy animal creatures being used to market them.
“There is often a health halo – some claim about vitamin C or ‘packed full of fruit’. There are no restrictions around the words industry can use in their marketing. They can claim or imply quite a lot. Then we end up with more than a third of these drinks having more sugar in them than a cola or fizzy drink.
“I think it came as quite a surprise to us really that there is so much sugar hidden and that any of the most familiar brands had such a high level.”
With upwards of 1 in 3 children, age 11, being overweight or obese, the need has never been greater to tackle the danger of sugary drinks that has infiltrated our dietary system.