Parents often try to find the balance between obliging their children’s sweet tooth, while also fulfilling their nutritional needs; a result that often ends with juice. Apple, orange, grape—all these unsweetened flavors count as a five-a-day fruit and veggie according to experts, but not without repercussions.
Nearly 25% of toddlers regularly consume these naturally sugary beverages, or kid-friendly smoothies, which are potentially harming their dental health. The crushing of the fruit during the juicing process is said to release more sugars than if the child were to eat the fruit whole.
The acid and sugar in smoothies are especially bad as well, since they tend to stick to teeth more than a standard juice. Smoothies are often a snack between meals, so there is more time for decay to chip away at the tooth’s enamel.
With the national effort to provide healthier meals and lifestyles for children to combat obesity, many juice brands are increasing their fruit content or adding other beneficial components to their products. Of course, it is unrealistic to cut all sweets out of a child’s life, but moderation is key; experts say that a ¾ cup of juice a day is prudent to keep children healthy and fit. Water and milk between meals can be better alternatives to these potentially harmful beverages.
In a British study, a small bottle of Orange Juice from Sandwich shop, Pret-a-Manger contained as much sugar as 13 cookies. Even worse, the smoothie from the restaurant contained as much sugar as three and a half Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
Sugar, regardless if it is natural or processed, can be detrimental to your child’s health. It can affect their behaviors or energy levels now, and eventually high-sugar intake can lead to diabetes, heart, and liver problems later. Two-thirds of children who regularly snack on sweets are at a potentially higher risk for tooth decay; but the good news is that just limiting a child’s intake can help keep them safe and healthy.