May 29, 2012
photo courtesy of istockphoto / thinkstock
Kids love fruit juice, and parents love convenient juice boxes. But a quick look at the ingredients and careful attention to recent health news reveals some horrifying facts about what your kids may be drinking.
Fungicide – A major fruit juice company recently reported to the FDA that orange juice they were getting from Brazil contained a fungicide called carbendazim, a chemical not approved for use on orange trees in the U.S. Carbendazim is considered dangerous, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted a special risk assessment to determine how unsafe and widespread the problem could be. The EPA determined the levels found in the orange juice did not present major health concerns¹, but this highlights the danger of importing foods from countries that have more lenient regulations over toxic chemicals. At Maximized Living, we recommend you read all juice product labels, and pay special attention to where the ingredients come from.
Flavor Packs – Some juices contain ingredients the FDA doesn’t require the manufacturer to disclose. Many of the most popular orange juices undergo a process of pasteurization and de-aeration that takes up to a year. After being held in storage for that long, the juices lose much of their natural flavoring. So, juice companies add “flavor packs,” created from the volatile compounds that are removed by the pasteurization process to enhance the flavor of the juices. Many doctors and scientists believe it is misleading to call juice ‘natural’ or ‘not from concentrate’ after it has undergone this process. A California mom recently sued Tropicana in a class action lawsuit that claimed the juice company was being deceitful in calling their juice ‘natural.’
Arsenic – Several recent investigations have revealed the most popular apple juices sold in supermarkets contain arsenic at levels above FDA standards. Some pundits were quick to point out the apples in question were being imported from China, where arsenic rules are more lenient. Unfortunately, lab tests showed domestic apples contained the same amounts of arsenic as the imported variety. For years, lead arsenate was used as a pesticide on orchards all over the world. Although it stopped being used after the 1950s, arsenic remains in the soil today and can contaminate products. Arsenic exposure is linked to cancer.
High Fructose Corn Syrup – Many experts have linked high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to skyrocketing obesity rates among kids because the sweet additive can stimulate hunger, even when you are full. Research has also linked HFCS to tooth decay and increased risk for heart attack.
Many parents are shocked when they discover most “fruit juice” marketed to kids is mostly just a mixture of sugar and water. If you’re going to give your kids juice, or drink it yourself, only purchase 100% real fruit juice. And remember, natural fruit still contains sugar and calories, so juice should only be consumed in moderation. Water is always the best choice.
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