Sugar in juice, fat in milk and artificial sweeteners in soft drinks.
They all make deciding what to give your kids a drink a minefield.
To add to the confusion of all parents, a new study today suggested that fruit juice may be making children fat due to the double effect of sugar and “liquid calories.”
The finding goes against what many parents might have believed, especially those who assumed that juice was a healthy alternative rich in vitamin C.
MailOnline has now asked registered nutritionists for their opinion on what children should be given to drink.
MailOnline has asked registered nutritionists for their opinion on what children should be given to drink after a study suggested drinking juice could cause weight gain in children (file image)
Rob Hobson, registered nutritionist and Healthspan advisor, said he wouldn’t recommend parents give up juice completely.
However, according to him, they should be aware of how much their children drink.
“I don’t see any problem in giving your child a small portion of fruit juice (150 ml) a day and it is best served as part of a healthy breakfast,” she said.
“The same goes for smoothies, but one or the other will do.”
He said that while juice can add calories to the diet, it also has other benefits that sweet alternatives lack.
“Any high-sugar beverage, even fruit juice that contains natural sugars, is likely to add extra calories to the diet, which is more likely to be a problem when consumed in excess,” Hobson said.
“Unlike other sugary drinks, fruit juice contains vitamin C.”
While limiting fruit juice to one a day, Hobson said parents can still serve other healthy refreshments to quench thirst.
“Throughout the day I would recommend other drinks that hydrate without added sugars,” she said.
‘You can try naturally flavored water by adding ingredients such as cucumber, pineapple cubes, strawberries and mint.
“A glass of milk is also very nutritious for children and can hydrate them as well as contribute to their calcium intake.”
Bridget Benelam, a nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation, said water and milk were the best drink options for children instead of juice.
“Water and milk are the best options because they do not contain free sugars,” he said.
“Fruit juices and smoothies contain some vitamins and minerals, but they are also high in sugar, so the advice is to limit them to no more than one small glass (150 ml) a day.”
He added that parents should not only take calories into account, as juice could also harm children’s oral health.
“The sugar and acidity in juices can damage teeth if children drink them frequently, so if fruit juice is given it is best to take it with a meal to limit any impact on dental health,” he said.
For particularly picky kids who want a juice, or for parents who want to maximize the benefits of vitamins without the harm, Ms. Benelam recommended trying to dilute it with water to reduce the sugar and acidity.
The recent study, published in the journal JAMA Pediatricswas based on a review of 42 other studies.
Canadian researchers looked at how body mass index (BMI) changed in both children and adults who drank 100 percent fruit juice for two weeks.
They found that each serving of juice in children appeared to result in a small increase in their BMI, suggesting a potential link.
However, they found no significant changes in the weight of adults who drank juice in the studies.
The NHS recommends that children aged four to six consume no more than 19g of free sugars per day, while children aged seven to 10 should limit intake to 24g.
There are no NHS guidelines for children under four, although the health service advises parents to avoid giving these children additional sugars.
These limits only apply to sugar added to foods, such as flavored yogurts, cereals and soft drinks, or those found naturally in fruit juices, smoothies and honey.
Health officials do not put limits on the sugar found in fruits, vegetables and milk.
A single 150 ml serving of orange or apple juice contains approximately 12 to 15 g of sugar.
With a standard juice box, a classic mainstay in many 200ml packed lunches, it’s easy to see how a child could inadvertently consume more than recommended.
The scourge of so-called “hidden” or “added” sugars, which are those we may not know are found in beverages such as juices, as well as products such as sauces, ketchup and salad dressings, has been blamed for contributing to several problems. of health.
Some experts consider them one of the key factors driving rising rates of obesity and diabetes in both Britain and the United States.